Many of us have difficulty speaking in public. One of my favorite lines from a Jerry Seinfeld stand-up act is in reference to a statistic stating that people fear public speaking more than death. I can only imagine that difficulty would be much worse if one had a speech impediment. That was the case for King George IV. If your palms started to sweat before you gave your oral book report in 9th grade English class, imagine having to address populations of people looking up to you as their king.
The King’s Speech follows Albert (Colin Firth), the Duke of York, leading up to the time he reluctantly became King. Early on Albert is forced to give a speech in his father’s stead. It’s here where we’re introduced to his stammer and some of the wild methods used to treat it (a doctor even promotes smoking as a healthy way to relax the throat). After much frustration and failed attempts at getting help with his speaking, Albert vows to be done with going to any more doctors.
Soon enough though, Albert’s wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham-Carter) finds Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), a speech therapist of sorts who promises he can help the soon to be king. The introduction between Logue and Albert is one of the film’s highlights, full of tension on laughs. During the session Logue records Albert reading on a vinyl record and encourages Albert to take it home and have a listen. The scene where he does listen is quite moving, and marks the beginning of the inspiring journey of perseverance and unlikely friendship.
As the film’s title suggests, there is a big speech involved which the film builds up towards. While the ending speech does put a glorious end to the tale, it’s the film’s small actions that left the most impact. The ups and downs of the relationship between Albert and Lionel are what the film thrives on by equally providing humor and solid drama. Elizabeth’s undying support and unconditional love for her husband, while only shown briefly, is a whole other aspect of the film that could have made for a story all its own.
The acting by all is spot on. As a period piece, The King’s Speech is top-notch as no detail was spared. Every shot was clean a aesthetically pleasing while successfully capturing the mood of every scene. It is no surprise the film won the Academy Award for Best Picture as there really isn’t a fault with the film. In fact, the only thing wrong with the film is its preposterous “R” rating. While there was a brief part of language, this film should certainly be seen and discussed with the whole family. I believe an edited version was released, but there is no reason the film’s original form should not be applauded. Perfect Rating