Dave's Rating:

3.0

The King's Oscar speech.

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.

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Comments (13)

Ed - 12-30-2010 1:19 PM
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As a many decades-long stutterer (the word "stammer" went out years ago), I found myself readily identifying with "Bertie" and found the approach to treat his stuttering quite interesting. The acting, I thought, was remarkable; the "sets," authentic; the editing/ camera work excellent. All in all, a big Bravo to all!

Susan - 1-02-2011 5:43 PM
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I thought The King's Speech was brilliantly acted by both Colin Furth and Geoffrey Rush. I found it to be an intelligent, thoughtful, and thoroughly entertaining film. I highly recommend it.

Philip - 1-04-2011 9:05 PM
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The best film I've seen in years. Riveting and brilliantly acted. I actually felt Bertie's pain and his ultimate triumph. It doesn't get any better.

Jose Paulo - 1-09-2011 10:07 PM
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How wonderful to watch a movie that is great even without hundreds of millions of dollars spent on special effects. This movie is great because of the deep human insight (a king can be a person fighting hard to overcome his limitations as anybody else), the outstanding acting from Collin Firth and Geoffery Rush (I'd bet money on Oscar's here) and the uplifting story itself. No one should miss this jewel of the big screen.

knightsbud - 1-16-2011 6:56 PM
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Just viewed the film The King's Speech and found it one of the best of the year. Collin Firth was the best as was Geoffery Rush. I just called everyone I know and it was not to be missed. Too bad, Mr White must have stepped out of the movie for a few minutes to only give it 3 stars, but, thats Mr White's style. Me a full 5 Stars!!

Steve - 1-23-2011 8:57 PM
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I just returned from watching The King's Speech with my girlfriend. we held hands the entire time which speaks to the depth, drama, and inspiring quality to the movie, from start to finish. This is great on many levels: what is possible in a mentoring relationship, what brings all of us together regardless of social class or nobility: our humanity. I am left very uplifed and energized from the movie. The acting was like not acting, everyone was great (well except for the Churchill character).

Owen McComiskey - 1-25-2011 1:16 PM
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I'll take Patrick Mcgoohans' Longshanks over this any day.

marck - 1-25-2011 9:01 PM
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very good performances thats all!!!! the movie? made for awards....

Nan Conrey - 2-09-2011 5:14 PM
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OMG we must have gone to two different movies. The King's Speech was rich, full, a delight to the eye, and filled with exceptional performances from every cast member. This movie is why movies are made. A good review is not good enough for The King's Speech.

Brian - 2-12-2011 3:45 PM
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What an incredibly banal, lazy, vapid review. I hope the reviewer keeps his day job as he so brilliantly demonstrates here that he has no appreciation or understanding either of historical drama or superb acting and great film making. Quite simply stated "The King's Speech" is a brilliant film.

Joe I from Taunton MA - 2-20-2011 7:18 PM
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This movie was absolutely fantastic. If you dopn't get into this one, there's got to something wrong with you. This movies is a must see. Collin Firth and Geoffery Rush were brilliant.

GCC - 2-26-2011 4:58 AM
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You've got to be kidding me, Dave! I have been a follower of yours for years, and you have been my primary source for solid reviews. Yet, as with most professional reviewers over time, your desire to be contrarian seems to have finally exceeded your obligation to provide an objective, audience-relevant review. Perhaps excellent acting and a strong script are no longer valid reasons for a movie to earn a solid rating? Must have mega special effects (e.g., Avatar; Dances with Wolves rip-off with huge budget) or shock/gross-out factor? Hey, I'm no fan of the Royals (maybe, William, at most), but that's not a reason to dis' a fantastic movie. Hopefully, this was just you on a bad, anti-royal day...

Louisa - 2-26-2011 7:58 PM
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What lovable royals? The only even likable ones are Bertie and his wife (and of course the daughters), while his brother comes off as a weak-willed buffoon, his father as a tyrant, and his mother as a cold...well. Something Bertie could say at the top of his lungs without stuttering. And even Bertie and Elizabeth take their class distinctions seriously, keeping them from being TOO likable.

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