Who's In It: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce
The Basics: Colin Firth is King George VI, the one who ascended to Britain's throne in the 1930s when King Edward abdicated in order to go marry divorcee Wallis Simpson. And he has a little problem. He stammers. In order to give speeches to his people, this has to change. Enter Geoffrey Rush as an untrained speech therapist with no awareness of class distinctions. (He calls the king "Bertie," a nickname reserved for family, and the fact that you hear him called this more than his title is a cue as to what kind of movie this is.) Rush pushes him makes him sing, teaches him to attack words without fear, to bellow streams of profanity and break through his psychological blocks. People placing bets on there being a moment when the king proudly intones, "I HAVE A VOICE!" will win big.
What's The Deal: Haters of the monarchy, step aside. Fictionalized royalty--attractive, witty, and just plain old lovable--are here just in time for the main coziness-specific holidays and awards season. You'll get all the fact-ish parts of a true story, some bold lies to smooth out the jagged edges and just enough poignant heartwarmth to amplify the stuff that real life forgot to give the first time. Movies like this allow you to fall in love with a historical family you probably wouldn't want to be friends with otherwise. The Windsors should really be the ones funding films like this. They're great PR.
Obsessive Anglophile Alert: You get all the tweed you need, as well as extremely proper English usage, period detail (the scenes involving old-fashioned radio technology, full of switches and tubes, will make a very specific sort of nerd all tingly), impeccably knotted neckties, and just the right ratio of vintage high manners to their dismantling via naughty swears and a disregard for royal station.
Good News For Fans Of: Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter. Because for him it's another chance to earn an Oscar nomination after getting shut out last year with A Single Man. More importantly, for Bonham Carter it's a chance to reconnect with the audience that prefers her as a well-spoken, Merchant Ivory-esque lady rather than as a giant-headed 3-D Queen of Hearts or Bellatrix LeStrange. It's great that she can play both sides of that fence, but sometimes you have remind people that you're not actually a total madwoman from a goth asylum.
What's Left After A Royal Speech Impediment Story? The Diana movie, of course. It may still be a long way off. But it'll happen eventually. And with any luck they'll give it to Ratcatcher's Lynne Ramsay to direct. Look, I can fantasize.