There is very good reason why this took away the Best Picture statue last year — in fact, very good reasons.
The film takes a story about the frequent topic of British royalty, and strips away the pomp and circumstance to reveal the raw, internal struggle of a man petrified to inaction by a stammer — but this is no ordinary man. He is Prince Albert, who, by the abdication of his brother Edward, must now be King George VI of England. And this is no ordinary time. It is the time of radio, and Germany has invaded Poland. The British Empire, the world, and Germany are waiting to hear the voice of a leader…
Emmy award winning director Tom Hooper (John Adams) leads an incredible cast through a very personal and intimate story penned by David Seidler, who himself had to overcome a speech impediment. Colin Firth pulls us inside a man who knows his place above the commoners, but whose vunerability definitely places himself below – at least in his mind. Geoffery Rush, who is good even when the film is bad, and is great when its good, and is inspired in a film like this, absolutely glows as Lionel Logue, an Aussie with little regard for social positions and no formal medical training, who helps the King deal with his personal emotional obstructions and coaches him toward the critical public address. And Helena Bonham Carter, as Elizabeth, who is always so good and being quirky, weird, and usually evil, conveys with a glance all the love and concern she has for her struggling husband.
Hooper carries you along so effectively through the internal rollercoaster drama that one must be a sociopath to not empathize with the King, and completely understand the stakes that are at risk on a personal, national, and even global scale. That scope is reflected in the title: The King’s Speech — both the ability of the King to speak, as well as specifically his address to the world at the dawn of World War II and a proclamation of war.
This received an R-rating from the ratings board for use of vulgar language — a shining example of the misguided judgement of the MPAA ratings board. This film should be available to all — but most specifically to a younger demographic who do suffer from stuttering and stammering. But no — we have to save them from the word “fuck”.