I know here on BabbleOn, we don’t review too many period pieces. Our period movies usually include being in a galaxy far, far away or slaying dragons on the medieval battlefield. However, the King’s Speech was an exceptional story worth reviewing and I found to be one of the best two hours of 2010. It’s too bad, I did see this before our ‘year in review’ posts and podcast, because last year needed something as solid as The King’s Speech.
This is a very simple story about a man and his speech impediment. He studders and stammers and is incredibly insecure about it. Unfortunately, he lives in fear and is resistant to experiencing his full potential. Oh, he happens to be one of the most powerful men in the world as the King of England (late 1930’s). This is a fascinating tale of how something so small could end up crippling a nation and one man’s fight to overcome it. The newly Kinged leader of the people, George the VI, or ‘Berty,’ is terrified of the facing his destiny, and inevitably will be needed to deliver the most important speech in the nation’s history- the declaration of war with Germany.
Even though the nation is on the brink of World War II and mourning the death of George the IV, the historical aspect is on the peripheral since the main focus is about the relationship between King George the VI and his speech therapist Lionel Logue. This is a film about trust and friendship. It shows the power of coaches in our lives. Most importantly, it’s an inspiration to find your ‘voice’ and in doing so, finding your destiny. Often times, we view kings, presidents, and leaders as secure and competent demi-gods of our world. The truth is that leaders are some of the most insecure and vulnerable creatures on the planet. This film does a masterful job of capturing the unspoken tensions of living with a self-imposed handicap. You experience the deep fear and frustration of knowing you were meant for more but seem paralyzed to do anything about it. I found this to be a very inspirational story and resonated with it on many levels. While the genre may seem unapproachable and distant to us modern day west-coasters, by the end I found it to be so cozy and fulfilling, that I returned with a whole group of work colleagues.
Colin Firth and Geoffry Rush deliver the best performances of their careers and will hopefully get Oscar nominations as a result. The world crafting of England in the 30’s is done with remarkable detail and authenticity. Director Tom Hooper moves this story at a brisk pace and includes some wonderfully painful tense moments along the way. While there is much pain uncovered in this journey of the King, it is still a feel good movie and you can’t help but leave with a smile on your face. Most of all, you will leave speechless.
With late coming films like this and True Grit, perhaps 2010 wasn’t such a loss after all. I give this a 4 1/2 Babbles out of 5.