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9/10
King Colin
pauletterich-la18 December 2017
After seeing "Apartment Zero" and being bowled over again by his amazing performance as the Argentinean pretending to be British, I felt the urge to see "The King's Speech" again - So glad I did. It was very moving to see Adrian Leduc being George VI. What an astonishing actor. In Apartment Zero he creates a character without a personality. A repressed, innocent that comes out as a total weirdo but we know better. His undeclared needs reflected in Colin Firth's eyes are a prodigious acting feast. In The King's Speech, his George VI suffers from a different fear but it's also pungently clear in the actor's eyes. I think what they both share is a desperate wish to be invisible. For King George that's an impossibility so, his struggle to move forward, learning to be the man everyone expects him to be is enormously moving. As you may have guessed, Colin Firth has become one of my favorite actors of all time.
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8/10
The King says a mouthful
Samiam310 December 2010
There were a lot of elderly folks in the theatre when I saw The King's Speech. It occurred to me that some of them may have been alive when George VI gave the actual speech to the British Nation which had just declared war with Hitler.

The King's Speech is a feel good movie, but a very adult one, and while it tells a good story, well scripted, absorbing and believable (except for an odd line or two), Tom Hooper's film is far more driven by character than by plot.

You may need to see it to believe it but, Colin Firth has no obvious competition for the best actor awards which are coming his way. He is absorbed in the role of the stammering king who is timid, low in self-confidence, and frustrated but perfectly warm-hearted. The only time he doesn't stammer is oddly enough when he curses. This is something which his new speech therapist suggests he use as a practise tool in the one scene which earned the film an R rating. The King's Speech is arguably a proud moment for Geoffrey Rush as well. This is him at his best, and he and Firth together almost make the movie. Their exchange of dialogue is flawless.

The King's Speech boasts an exceptional cast, which includes Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Gambon, Derek Jacobi and Guy Pearce, all of whom help contribute to the picture with the smallest amount of screen time.

The King's Speech says a mouthful, and it warms the heart without question. There is also no question is arguing that it is among the very best of the year.
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10/10
Brilliant movie!
slythinker12 September 2010
This is a biopic about how King George VI, the father of Queen Elizabeth II, overcame his stuttering problem. Widely considered by all but his father unfit to be king, George is reluctantly thrust unto the throne and into the spotlight after his brother is forced to abdicate. Overshadowed on the global stage by powerful orators like Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini, the King relies on the help of a little-known Australian speech therapist named Lionel Logue to find his voice and courageously lead his people into the most devastating war humanity has ever faced.

This is a powerful, hilarious and deeply moving story, told against the backdrop of a critical juncture in modern history, of the emergence of a deep friendship out of a professional relationship between two men who would otherwise never have socially interacted. The screenplay, written by David Seidler (who also wrote Tucker: The Man and his Dream), is excellent. The dry British wit is hilarious. I was literally slapping my knee during some of the scenes. Tom Hooper (Elizabeth I) does a superb job directing this movie. The buildup to the climactic finale is skillfully executed and prompted the audience to erupt into spontaneous applause. (Apparently, this also happened at the Roy Thomson Hall premiere.) Geoffrey Rush (Elizabeth: The Golden Age) does a fantastic job as Lionel Logue and Colin Firth (A Single Man) is excellent as King George VI.

I saw the second public screening of this movie at the Ryerson Theater during the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Tom Hooper was present to introduce the movie. He was joined by Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush after the movie ended for a brief Q&A.

It turns out that David Seidler also had a stuttering problem as a child and drew inspiration from the king's struggle. Early in his career he wanted to write a screenplay about it. He dutifully asked the Queen Mother for permission. She agreed but told him "not in my lifetime". Little did he know she would live to be 101 and he would have to wait another 30 years.

Another interesting tidbit we learned was that near the end of the shoot, the crew finally located one of Lionel Logue's grandsons, who just so happened to live about 10 minutes away from the director. They got access to Lionel's diaries and correspondence and managed to incorporate some of it into the script.

This movie is an unqualified must see.
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A Royal Treat
jdesando17 December 2010
You heard it from me: Not even James Franco with his boffo performance in 127 Hours can beat Colin Firth for the Oscar in King's Speech, a docudrama about the Duke of York (Firth) becoming King George VI while overcoming a crushing stutter. Not only does the actor get pitch perfect the stutter, but he also invests a kindness, courage, and vulnerability in the character that work in harmony to create an unforgettable George in an exquisite period peace.

Not to forget how generously Geoffrey Rush underplays Lionel, the speech therapist who is instrumental in making the king a speaker and a friend. That low-key acting allows Firth the room to expand his king's personality without interference from an Oscar-winning co-star. This is history as I like to learn it—honest and engaging with palaces and minor characters well-appointed and underplayed themselves as part of a mosaic of challenges facing a handicapped king and a nation on the brink of WWII. The pace is close to languid, better to allow us to settle in for the painful transformation of a man unused to public speaking but used to family mocking his disability.

George's bravery is the film's heartbeat, not flamboyant courage, mind you, but rather the kind that wakes us up to the character as complex and lovable. But valor is not his exclusively, Guy Pearce's Edward, who abdicates for his love, Wallace Simpson, can be seen as a courageous man giving up a crown for love or a fool falling for a twice-divorced socialite.

Such an ambivalence is fitting for a film that gently introduces you to a period in British history when alliances are not clear and allegiances dangerous. One thing is patently clear, however—this is going to be on most critics' best film of the year list with a sure Oscar winner for its star. If Firth missed the brass ring last year in A Single Man, he'll grab it this year in King's Speech.
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10/10
Superb drama of courage and humanity
Colinrocks6 November 2010
I think I must have seen a different film from the previous two reviewers at Leeds on Friday. It is now two days ago and I am still feeling overwhelmed by what I saw. It is a very touching, and quite inspiring story about a man, psychologically scarred, and trapped in a situation from which he could have no escape and facing it with immense courage. It so happens that he was royal, and that was a large part of his problem- but the film isn't so much about royalty as a human story. The film conveyed very powerfully in the opening scene, the enormity of what was required of him. As the film develops, the complexities of the character are revealed. The acting is superb, especially from the three principals, and the development of the troubled and sparky relationship at the heart of the film is a joy to watch. The film is very funny and the characters have warmth and humanity. The film is well paced, and carries you along to the emotional climax, so that, even though I knew the story, it had me holding my breath. If you don't need lots of action or special effects in your film, and enjoy seeing top-notch actors at the very peak of their craft, this will be for you. You might also, as I did, gain a bit more insight into the human drama behind a significant, but relatively unexplored period of British history.

If CF and GR both win Oscars they will be more than worthy winners and if they don't then "best" has no meaning.

One further thought- anyone who thinks that this film is unsuitable for teenage viewers needs to have a long hard look at their priorities. It could prove inspirational to anyone with communication difficulties.
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10/10
A touching, historical masterpiece
David Bogosian27 December 2010
I rarely rate a movie a "10" but in this case, it is well deserved. Truly, there is no way to improve upon the achievement that this film represents, whether in casting, direction, writing, artistic value, you name it.

The story gives us a fascinating look into the struggles faced by George VI on his way to becoming king of England. The story line is all about his stuttering, but underneath all that are suppressed memories from childhood, growing up in the shadow of an elder brother, perpetual negative reinforcement from a domineering father, etc. It's a psychoanalytical look at a well-known royal family, and while I can't vouch for its absolute veracity, it gives a rare glimpse into the lives of people we wouldn't otherwise observe at this level of intimacy (much like "Queen" did a few years ago).

The contrast between George and Edward VIII is most fruitful. It's the clash between duty and hedonism, fulfilling one's personal quest for happiness vs. overcoming one's worst fears on behalf of your people and country. Edward is typically romanticized and lionized, but here we see him as more of a spoiled, selfish lout.

But the heart of the movie is the relationship between George and Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), who is helping him overcome his speech problems. Both actors are at the absolute top of their form. Firth is brilliant as the aloof, initially reluctant and distrustful monarch, while Rush shows the same wink-of-the-eye humor and irony that he did as Barbossa, relishing the sheer inequality of their positions yet knowing the extent to which George is dependent on him. Ultimately a true friendship develops between the men, and since they are both such endearing characters, it's a joy to watch.

I should add that Helena Bonham-Carter is also spot-on as the haughty yet practical queen consort. Other more minor roles are effectively played (e.g., Winston Churchill, George V). The entire movie is a perfect blend of history, personal and familial drama, with broader themes of perseverance and overcoming adversity which give it a timeless application.

Lastly, in this movie's case, the "R" rating is for "Ridiculous." The only potentially offensive material is some over-the-top language (including the F-word) which plays a part in one scene, and is clearly used for comic purpose and with great effect. I unhesitatingly took my 13 year old daughter and (depending on the child) might be okay for even younger ones. Don't let that stop you from seeing this gem.
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10/10
A wonderful movie!
kepc9 October 2010
No spoilers here. I would like to let everyone know that this is an excellent film. I enjoyed it this week at the Mill Valley Film Festival in Marin County, CA. Given the outstanding cast and director, and my fascination with historical figures, I had high hopes for this film, though mixed with a certain resignation that I might be disappointed. There was no way I could have imagined how wonderful "The King's Speech" would be. There was abundant humor without the film ever becoming a comedy, drama without dreariness, and many deeply moving moments. I can't praise this film enough. It boosted my appreciation of the human capacity to become our best selves, and rise to meet even the most daunting challenges.
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9/10
Colin Speaks
Donald Agustamarian12 January 2011
What a wonderful performance! Compassion and clarity of vision, side by side. Colin Firth has been a favourite of mine since the extraordinary "Apartment Zero' (1989) His maturity as an actor reflects his maturity as a person and how many times are we able to say that? Very few I'm afraid. What I thought I saw in him as an actor playing the zero of the title in "Apartment Zero" is here in spades. Wow! How rewarding! Here he's not alone. Goeffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter and Guy Pearce are all standouts and the stutter is just a device to show a whole picture. How strange we knew so little about this man. I guess Hitler got all the headlines. So from a historical perspective is also a feast of sorts. Bravo indeed!
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10/10
Well, now we know where all the Oscars are going. Or should...
hughman552 January 2011
I could write for hours about this film. I only just heard about it last night at a New Year's Eve party. Saw it today. To use the vernacular, OMG. Director Tom Hooper has a masterpiece on his hands. Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Derek Jacobi, and Timothy Spall as Winston Churchill, all turn in excellent performances. Not to forget Guy Pearce as King Edward who abdicated his throne for an American divorcée. David Seidler's script is brilliant. The story is laid out cleverly. The pace and rhythm are PERFECT.

I think this is one of the best films ever made. It will tear at your guts. And that is where Collin Firth comes in. Mr. Firth gives one of the most poignant and affective performances ever by a male movie star. Where, inside himself, an actor goes for a performance like this, is beyond my comprehension.

In the movie, "A Single Man", Colin Firth served notice that he was an actor of depth and subtlety, the surface of which he had only just begun to scratch. Now, he's more than scratched that surface. He's gouged a chasm through it. He plays the tormented, soon to be King of England, George VI, and does so in a way that very early in the movie buries his hooks in you and doesn't let go. I can not ever recall, while watching a film, having to choke back tears for over an hour and a half. The suffering portrayed by Firth as George VI is subtle at times. In your face at others. But painfully present always. When Firth bellows, "I am a King" I nearly lost it in a very quiet, and stunned, theater. If you've already seen this film you know what this refers to.

As an American I find the concept of a monarchy bewildering. Why is one person more privileged than another just because of the womb he or she sprang from? That being said, I do find the stories of those trapped in this anachronistic time warp fascinating at times. This would be one of those times. This film is the intersection of great personal pain, international upheaval, and a family that is ceremoniously dysfunctional to it's core.

Above this chaos, confusion, and unrest, rises a weak shell of a man to greatness. Colin Firth is the vessel for that transformation and if he doesn't win an Oscar for this performance it will tarnish the Academy forever in my humble opinion. This is the kind of performance, and film overall, that you leave thinking to yourself that you've just seen the greatest movie ever. Maybe later you'll see another brilliant film and think that "this one" is the best ever, but for now "The King's Speech" has no equal.
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8/10
Good movie, with a great cast
haakondrang4 June 2015
This is a beautiful and well made movie. The director has made the story of King George VI into something more interesting than just "the story". The movie starts with George as the duke of York, and follows his way to become king, and his difficulties with the stammering. George finds a therapist, Lionel Logue, who will become more than just a therapist. A true friend.

The movie is really well made. The music, the cinematography, the cast, the script etc. is good, and as it should be.

Colin Firth in the role as King George VI is really good, and he is completely convincing as a man who struggles with different things, such as his temperament, memories from his childhood and of course: his stammering. The story of King George, and how he defeats this problem with stammering is a touching story to follow. Overall, a good movie, but not the best. 8/10.
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7/10
Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush Are a Pleasure to Watch
bob-790-19601821 February 2011
While the very idea of a stammering king is inherently interesting, as is the historical context of a gathering world war, the real substance of this movie is the interplay between two fine actors, Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. Firth gives a particularly rich performance, bringing his character to life with depth and subtlety.

As an American, I find the notion of monarchy in the Twenty-First Century to be at best puzzling. But the movie helps us understand the importance of the king as a unifying symbol of Britain during a time when the very existence of Britain was under threat. So even we Yanks can see how crucial it is that the king be able to address the people with reasonable fluency.

A very enjoyable film.
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7/10
Not entirely speechless
CineCritic25178 February 2011
While his ascension to the throne of England seems imminent, future King George VI struggles with a speech impediment that won't allow him to speak in public without a fair amount of embarrassment to himself and his audience. He seeks and finds help by approaching speech therapist Lionel Logue who offers him his services. This Oscar nominee showcases some very entertaining and witty writing accompanied by excellent cinematography and acting. I don't however think the film is all that it is made out to be with the exceptionally high score it currently presents itself with on this website and roaring Oscar buzz. The story itself is quite thin and there aren't many memorable scenes that warrant a second viewing any time soon.

74/100
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10/10
Fantastic!
mrsmish18 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
A longtime Colin Firth fan, I saw this wonderful film twice at the Toronto Film Festival.

The film opens with Bertie, Duke of York (Firth), the younger son of King George V, making a speech and becoming embarrassingly tongue-tied. Hearing the echo of his words in the outdoor stadium is enough to thwart his efforts. He looks desperately unhappy as the audience watches, some with expressions ranging from sympathy to impatience - clearly this has happened before.

Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), is an Australian speech therapist known for unorthodox methods. The moment we see his home, its eclectic decor tells us he is an unusual character. Logue has a happy and active family. He and his wife (Jennifer Ehle)have 3 sons, ranging in age from early adolescence to late teens. Evidence of the boys' activities is seen around the somewhat messy house - schoolbooks, model planes, etc.

Into this home comes the Duchess of York (Helena Bonham Carter), clearly out of her element. Presenting herself as "Mrs. Johnson," she tells Logue her husband stutters and is called upon to speak in public in his line of work. Logue replies that perhaps he should find a new job! She says that would be impossible, to which Logue inquires if he is an indentured servant. "Yes, sort of," she replies. After she reveals his true identify, Logue only agrees to take him on as a patient if the therapy is conducted in his own office (no house calls, even for royalty) and tells her it is "my castle, my rules."

A reluctant Bertie is coaxed into a first appointment, which ends badly. Logue records him reading the "to be or not to be" soliloquy from Hamlet while wearing headphones blasting Beethoven so that he can't hear himself speaking. Bertie has little patience for these "tricks" and ultimately rips off the headphones and storms out, but not before Logue presents him with the recording as a "souvenir." Some time later, Bertie plays the recording, in which he perfectly enunciates the Shakespearean passage , as Elizabeth, unseen, stands in the doorway listening.

So back to Logue he goes.

Their sessions are filled with pathos and humor. An unlikely friendship begins between two men from vastly different worlds - Logue insists on equality, calling the duke "Bertie." Logue knows that in most cases, stammering results from traumatic childhood experiences, although Bertie scoffs at this assertion. "I was always like this," he insists, Logue replying that no infant begins talking in a stammer. Gradually, his harsh treatment as a child - what we would consider child abuse today - is revealed, sometimes in song at Logue's insistence, when it is too painful to relate in speech. This breakthrough is one of the most powerful scenes in the film, and made me cry both times I saw it. At one point, the two men have a nasty argument and a disruption of their relationship. Bertie makes some cruel comments, mocking Logue's background and questioning his motivation. You can clearly see the hurt on Logue's face as Bertie walks away.

We all know what is going on in the background: the abdication crisis. Edward VI (David) and Wallis Simpson are unsympathetically portrayed. In one scene, David mockingly mimics Bertie's stammer, accusing him of wanting to steal his throne. In truth, Bertie dreads becoming King, breaking down in tears when he realizes his fear is about to become reality. When GeorgeV dies, making David the King, David abdicates when not allowed to marry the twice-divorced Wallis.

Bertie rekindles his relationship with Logue, trying to apologize without saying the words. Logue understands that royalty does not apologize, and begins readying Bertie to speak at the coronation.

The Archbishop of Canterbury does not approve of Logue's influence on the King, and questions his credentials. In a pivotal scene at a Westminster Abbey "rehearsal," the King supports Logue, who admits he is not a doctor and does not have impressive credentials, but never misrepresented himself to clients. After the Archbishop leaves, an amusing "rehearsal" scene takes place at the Abbey.

The film takes a serious turn as Hitler comes into power. Bertie, Elizabeth and their daughters (Margaret and Elizabeth, the current queen) watch a coronation newsreel, followed by footage of Hitler inciting the German people. Bertie's comment? "I don't know what he is saying, but he says it well," envying Hitler's oratory power.

Bertie is an affectionate, hands-on father, in contrast to his own childhood when he and his brother were brought to their parents for a "daily viewing." After he becomes king, the princesses hesitate, then curtsy, upon seeing him. Bertie's face changes as he realizes how completely his life will change, but immediately gathers them into his arms.

As WWII approaches, preparation begins for "The King's Speech" to the nation. The end of the film is brilliant as Bertie speaks live on radio, with Logue there to coach him. We see shots of his subjects - soldiers, people in pubs, his mother, even David and Wallis - listening to the stirring speech. It is a resounding success, but realistically portrayed, as Bertie hesitates several times, following Logue's non-verbal cues to get through it. Afterwards, Logue tells him "you still stammered on the W's" to which Bertie replies, "I had to throw in a few of those so they 'd know it was me." Director Tom Hooper revealed at the Q&A, that that response was taken from the king's own diary.

The film ends with the royal family on the balcony, waving to their subjects as Logue watches, having, for the first time, addressed Bertie as "Your Majesty." It is noted on screen that Bertie and Lionel remained friends for the rest of their lives and that Lionel was awarded a CVO for "personal service to the sovereign." I highly recommend this absorbing drama with masterful characterizations by its two principal actors.
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7/10
Performances supersede the story
cool-as-ever-8529 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
King's Speech is one movie where the story takes a back seat and actors come out and perform. Though the movie belongs to Colin Firth but the performances of Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush are extraordinary. The prime reason behind such brilliant quality of performances is the screenplay. The story is dull but some funny lines/ situations here and there makes the movie a must watch. Above i have mentioned that the movie belongs to Colin Firth, the reason being not just his performance but the amazing consistency and hold of the character. Sparing one scene where Colin Firth cries in front of Helena Bonham, his performance is brilliant. I believe if things go well than Colin Firth is on his way to win the Oscar for best actor. The on screen chemistry between Colin Firth and Geoffery Rush is brilliant and some of the scene are really funny.

Wishing Colin Firth luck for the Oscars....
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6/10
mixed bag
diuscorvus27 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The award season brouhaha seems focused on Firth's performance, and excellent though it is, I find it less characteristic and affecting than his turn in Ford's 'A Single Man.' Like 'The Queen' from four years ago, the British royal family is again the boat on which Britain attempts to take Hollywood. But 'The Queen' was a far more affecting film. Perhaps this is because 'The Queen' was so much more enigmatic, while 'The King's Speech' obvious: the king's doll-like daughters greeting him with "Your Majesty." Need a more obvious way to communicate the king's entrapment? The cruelty of the Duke of York's brother. The footage of "ordinary people" wincing at the king's stuttering. The cheap suspense created by Bertie not listening to his recording of "To be or not to be" until much later. All these are formulaic, and Hollywood formulaic, employed because the the filmmakers seem afraid that we would not be able to empathize with the character's speech impediment problem. But by overdoing it, they achieve the opposite.

This isn't to say that there are quite excellent moments. The fog-drenched streets when Helena Bonham-Carter, as "Mrs. Johnson," seeks out Lionel. The amplification of the stutter in the very first scene. The dinner during which the previous king dies.

The standout for me in this film, however, is Geoffrey Rush. The camera doesn't lavish nearly as much attention on him as it does on Firth, and Rush doesn't get a breakdown scene late in the movie to show off his acting chops, as does Firth. But Rush embodies all the contradiction in the film's supposed theme of an "unlikely friendship" between men of drastically unequal ranks. Whereas Firth ultimately seems energized and, indeed, two-dimensionally happy with his kingship, Rush's last address to his one-time patient is an enigmatic "Your Majesty." Does he admire what he's made, or does he now feel more than ever the disparity in their power? I think also to the expression Rush gives us when his oldest son announces news of WWII - how does Rush think of his "friend" who has the power to send his son to death in war? It is Rush's quiet performance that leaves the maximum dramatic impact, which Helen Mirren had done four years ago by walking down a hallway in Buckingham Palace with a five year old's confusion on her royal face.
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10/10
One word; Brilliant
jkeggen14 December 2010
The title of the film wouldn't necessarily have caught my eye, but am I glad I went to see this film, courtesy of an advance screening. It was bound to be good with Colin Firth playing the Duke of York who went on to become George VI, and he didn't let the audience down. Let's not forget also the other main characters, Lionel Logue played by Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter as the Duchess of York, Michael Gambon as George V and Timothy Spall as Winston Churchill - all absolutely perfect for their respective roles. Whilst the dates in the film might not have been completely accurate, the film tells the story perfectly, sometimes humorously and and certainly sensitively, and I would like to think in such a way that doesn't cause any embarrassment to any surviving members of our Royal Family or indeed people who suffer from what must be a very difficult condition to live with. Certainly a film I would recommend to my friends.
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9/10
King George VI Stutters with Laughs, Giggles and Touching Moments at the Toronto International Film Festival
Jamester10 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Wow! I just saw this at the Roy Thompson Hall (TIFF) World premiere of The King's Speech with director Tom Hooper (great job), Colin Firth (great), Geoffrey Rush (outstanding), and the writer (excellent job!) present. Front row seating was actually really good.

Let me frame this for you: this is a biopic of shy and stuttering King George VI in the years leading up to WWII. I didn't know he stuttered. And had a speech therapist. Interestingly, the screenplay writer wasn't allowed to put this on until the former Queen passed. "Not in my lifetime," she said. And so he waited 30 years to pass until he could. He was a former stutterer who said to himself, if King George VI could get over his stuttering, then so could I. And hence goes the story of overcoming this major issue (which has emotional and not merely physical roots) while connecting with his speech helper.

The movie zones in on not only the stutter and magnifies the power and lack of power that the spoken word communicates (all subtext), but makes the story very human, and interesting as the film focuses on the King and Lionel Logue, his 'speech defects' therapist, for lack of a better and more accurate term.

The movie flowed well with good story and excellent acting throughout that captured my attention and rewarded it with some funny and very honest moments sprinkled throughout.

Geoffrey Rush was outstanding in playing a common man using his mind and full creative abilities to solve a man's stutter enough to deliver powerful speeches to resist during WWII.

The funniest moment, I shall not reveal, but it has to do with how speech anti-stutter techniques were used. So creative. And honest. AND so funny.

After one key speech, the audience in Roy Thompson Hall spontaneously started clapping. WOW! This was a nice movie. It could have pushed the emotional bar just a bit higher, but nonetheless stuck to its guns and gave an honest and good time. A strong 9/10.
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6/10
Solid But Unspectacular
sddavis6320 January 2011
In opening, I must say that everyone involved with this production did a solid job. They all did their duty. In that sense, the movie resembles the British royal family as a whole - they're not especially important really, but they perform a useful function that fate has assigned them to. The trappings of monarchy aside, I suspect that their lives are probably rather dull and largely scripted. That brief description of royal life and duty sums this movie up perfectly.

There's really nothing wrong with it. Colin Firth was believable as King George VI, Helena Bonham Carter good (if, I thought, a little too irreverent in places) as his wife Elizabeth. George was the second son of King George V. As such, he was never supposed to be King, never trained to be King and afflicted with a terrible speech impediment that probably made him relieved to know that he would never be King, with all the public duties entailed with the office. Then - the abdication crisis, as his brother King Edward VIII gives up the throne for the woman he loves (the American divorcée Wallis Simpson) leaving poor Bertie (as George was known) to take up the reins and the responsibility of rallying the nation as Britain and its Empire slide toward inevitable war with Nazi Germany.

The movie begins with Bertie's disastrous and almost incoherent 1925 speech at Wembley and ends with a still hesitant but nevertheless eloquent speech declaring war on Germany in 1939. In between, the movie essentially deals with the speech therapy that Bertie received from the Australian Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush.) It isn't really all that interesting to witness almost two hours of speech therapy, but one has to feel a certain sympathy for Bertie as he faces this situation that to him must have been terrifying as well as a certain admiration for him - unlike his brother, he sucked it up and overcame his weaknesses and limitations and did his duty. Firth did an admirable job of drawing us into the King's emotional torment as he takes on this role he never wanted. So, while the movie as a whole isn't exciting or - at times at least - even particularly interesting, it's solid. I personally don't think it rises beyond that, and I think it's somewhat over-rated. But it's solid. Just like the royals themselves, it does its duty, even if it does so unspectacularly.
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6/10
Mission accomplished: maximum number of Oscar acquired
bas rutten22 April 2011
Two years after the decent but unremarkable "Slumdog Millionaire" got an Oscar, and a year after the even more unremarkable "The Hurt Locker" also undeservedly received the coveted statue, the Academy performs an even worse atrocity by denying The Social Network and Black Swan (among others) the best picture award, instead opting for "The King's Speech", a movie so obviously engineered to win a lot of Oscars that it hurts.

Of course, this is not a BAD movie. It is just that every aspect of it is directed at raking in as much Oscars as possible: an "inspiring" story, based on "a true story", about an underdog who overcomes his difficulties and comes out triumphantly, all set to appropriate and beautiful classical music.

Granted, it's an expertly made movie. The acting by Geoffrey Rush, Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter is first-class and the cinematography is beautiful.

Unfortunately, a story about a man overcoming his stuttering is about as boring as it sounds, and the totally risk-less direction doesn't help things either. Historical accuracy is thrown out of the window in favor of creating sympathy and the result is a movie that lacks any kind of real drama or conflict. Instead it just moves along a predictable course in which the "protagonist" overcomes predicable problems (childhood trauma, anyone) and achieves a predictable triumph.

Along the way, it IS good for an occasional smile, a cozy warm feeling, and a little bit of historical insight. But inspiring cinema, this is not. Rather, it's an over-engineered piece aimed at pleasing the crowd in general and the academy in particular. It's not surprising it works, but it doesn't make the movie by itself any good
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7/10
Fairly strong writing and acting, but...
oshkosh_1012 February 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Alright, I'm probably going to receive an onslaught of thumbs downs for this review for simply not agreeing with the masses but oh well this is simply my opinion of the movie.

Remember Paranormal Activity when it first came out? Maybe the hype wasn't as strong for this movie as Paranormal Activity but I feel like a similar situation is going to happen with this one. On Paranormal Activity's opening and many weeks after, the film had a ridiculously high IMDb rating in the 9's I believe. Fast forward a few years later and the rating of Paranormal Activity dropped significantly. A mere 6.6. Simply put, people will probably look back at this film and think "Oh it really wasn't that good, really over-hyped." I notice on the discussion boards people simply refuse the fact that not every single person had to like this film. These people go as far as labelling the people who didn't like it as much as them as "trolls" or saying that "you just don't get this movie". I could just namedrop a bunch of avant-garde films and said I enjoy those but not this. What's the point in that though? Alright after I got that rant sorted out, I might as well talk about the actual movie.

Well for what I did like about this film was pretty much mentioned by everyone else previously. The acting was quite strong with the Rush and Firth putting on convincing performances. You generally looked forward to when these two guys were in the same shot and seeing what they would have to say. However, I don't understand why people think Firth's role couldn't be played by anyone else. Sure he does do a good job but quite a few people make it out to be the role of a lifetime. He mostly has trouble with enunciation and his anger but I'm sure any seasoned actor could portray that quite well. On the other hand, there are many one liners that will surely amuse most people by both their wit and delivery. There are also quite a few good shots in this movie with one of my favourites being after Edward viciously insults Bertie. You then see a shaken a Bertie while his brother forgets about him and goes socialize.

So this film sounds good so far? Well that's really all I can say about it. The film has fairly strong acting, writing, and a believable setting. However, there's much more to a perfect film than simply having those few characteristics down. The film's plot is okay and for the most part you're just simply waiting for the two leads to share the same shot. The plot doesn't feel that well thought out and comes across as clichéd at some parts (ie the reluctance of Bertie going to a therapist and him not believing it will work when it does, the typical joyful montage of Bertie doing exercises with the therapist, the part where they "break up" and eventually come back together in the end, etc.) Not sure if what I said previously counts as spoilers since it is pretty clichéd but I'll check spoilers off anyway. There are also not simply many good themes in this film. After you see this, you just feel uplifted that this guy overcame his stutter for a short period of time. I don't think it'll have the impact like the way say a movie like Taxi Driver does where you feel changed by it. As well as being left sitting where you are and thinking about what you just saw for a long period of time.

This is all coming from a person who had a lisp and was insulted much in the same way Bertie was, as well as having difficulties with public speaking. Even though I understand the character's position quite well and the difficulties he went through, I still don't think this was that good of a movie. Oh well, I guess people will be calling me a "troll" now but we'll see how that holds up in a few years.
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8/10
A Charming Film
Theo Robertson8 January 2011
By a strange irony the film I'd watched at the cinema the previous night was 127 HOURS by Britain's most innovative director Danny Boyle whilst this evening's offering was THE KING'S SPEECH which had made in Britain plastered all over it . Boyle's film fails to a large extent because it's rather anti-cinematic where as Tom Hooper's film should fail down to the rather passé seen it all before feel that tries a little too hard tro appeal to prize ceremonies . If I was disappointed by Boyle's latest offering I was pleasantly surprised by THE KINGS SPEECH

The movie suffer somewhat from the hype surrounding it but that's not to take away from the fact that it's one of the most charming films I've seen in a long time . Watching a movie at a cinema has both pros and cons . It's an expensive night out and there's the danger of being surrounded by philistines and peasants of the most bourgeoisie kind but one good thing is to guage public opinion as to the merits of a movie and listening to the crowd react to the pithy dialogue with delayed laughter reminded me how an audience reacts to the best works of Wood Allen or Mike Leigh . This is very much comedy of manners developed to its best potential

Colin Firth is an actor I first took notice of in TUMBLEDOWN . He's best at playing manly roles but until now he's been best known for playing Mr Darcy in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE but is never less than superb as Prince Albert/King George and this is a career defining performance which will almost certainly earn him an Oscar .. Geoffry Rush as Lionel Logue as a maverick speech therapist who has a slightly dark secret is equally superb and will earn an Oscar nod at least . With this type of movie a film largely succeeds or fails due to the supporting cast since the two are in danger of dominating the film to the detriment of everyone else but Bonham Carter , Jacobi , Pearce and Gambon make an impact with their small roles as does as unrecognisable Anthony Andrews

Realising that the main story of the Prince's stammer isn't enough to carry a 2 hour film the screenplay by David Seidler has a couple of subplots involving King Edward's abdication and the ascent of Hitler in Germany and director Hooper develops the subplots very well . If there's a problem with the film it does have " Award winning movie " written all over it but as I said it's so charming you quickly forget that . If it sweeps the award ceremonies it'll probably be down to the merit and even this republican film goer was swept up in the story . In fact it made me proud to be British
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4/10
not worth the praise
krzysiektom1 February 2011
I really do not get the Hollywood's weakness for everything royal and British. It is enough for a British actor to play an English queen or king to get nominated, it seems. For example Helena Bonham getting nominated here is just ridiculous, she is good of course but nothing deserving an Oscar nomination. The film is well made and acted, but is basically a lie, sentimental and simplistic one at that. King Edward VIII, the older brother here, was a known supporter of Hitler but the film does not mention it here. King George's speech impediment was not really so important, because the king's role was pretty limited at the time and his importance was little compared to prime minister's Churchill in preparing the country for war. Big deal that he was stuttering, he could have been mute and it still would not have changed much! The film also conveniently ignores that king George was NOT Churchill's supporter and thought his politics of clearly opposing Hitler was incorrect, instead he showed strong support for Neville Chamberlain's politics of appeasement, even after Chamberlain had cynically approved in Munich Hitler's invasion of Czechoslovakia! If it were up to king George, Churchill would not have been appointed PM, Halifax would have. And Halifax was just another Chamberlain. So the film is a sentimental lie for naive, sentimental public.
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10/10
Magnifiscent
Kristine30 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Watching the Academy Awards for 2011 was absolutely insane, I don't think people could have gone crazier on the internet when The King's Speech took the Best Picture award. It seemed like The Social Network was the popular choice, which I had the chance to watch a few days ago expecting it to be like the moment that Goodfellas lost to Dances with Wolves, but honestly I wasn't that impressed. So naturally I was nervous because I purchased The King's Speech without seeing it first and thought it might be bad. But to my surprise not only did I end up loving this film; it was without a doubt the best picture of 2010 in my opinion. I just love history pieces and WWII is one of my favorite subjects and to be honest I never really thought about King George during the war. I didn't even realize that he had a speech impediment to be honest. This is not only a great film, but just a feel good story that will definitely leave you smiling.

Prince Albert, Duke of York, the second son of King George V, has a stammering speech. The Duke tries several unsuccessful treatments and despairs, until his wife persuades him to see Lionel Logue, a speech therapist. To persuade him to follow his treatment, Logue bets Prince Albert a shilling that he can read perfectly at that very moment, and gives him Hamlet to read aloud, which he does while listening to loud music on headphones. Logue records Bertie's reading, but convinced that he has stammered throughout, Bertie leaves in a huff, declaring his condition "hopeless." Logue offers him the recording as a keepsake. Prince Albert plays Logue's recording and hears himself making an unbroken recitation of Shakespeare. He returns to Logue, and they work together on his speech. George V dies, and David accedes to the throne, still wanting to marry Mrs Simpson, a socialite divorcée. When he does abdicate to marry, Prince Albert becomes King George VI. The new King realizes that he needs Logue's help to lead his kingdom into war.

I have only two complaints about the film, one being that I wish I could have seen him a little more into the war however I know this was to see how he over came his speech impediment, so I let that go very easily. Secondly, that my mother could have seen this film because she loved Colin Firth and would have adored The King's Speech. Colin Firth delivers a powerful performance and truly brings so much to the role, not just the difficulty that he had to over come but the vulnerability that he added to being thrown into being the King of England. That there was a time before where all a King had to do is just make an appearance while his speech wasn't really important to the people. In the 1930's, technology was becoming bigger and now broadcast across the nation would happen. I could only imagine the practice and patience that went into this man and truly became a remarkable king.

Geoffry and Helena did an outstanding job as well supporting Firth in his glory. The sets, the costumes, the story, everything about this film was just perfect, it was a total pleasure to watch. As for those who are still in hysterics that The King's Speech won the Best Picture, I would have to remind you that it's your opinion that should matter, don't mind the awards. I think this was a wonderful film and am very glad that I bought it, I can't wait to watch it again.

10/10
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8/10
Five Reasons to see King's Speech
mgorman-627 December 2010
1. The actors - Firth compels attention and sympathy, Rush is irresistible, and Bonham Carter brightens every scene she enters. The supporting roles are studded with familiar British actors (Jacoby, Ely, etc.) being, and celebrating being, very British. 2. The visual experience - Scene after scene that is arresting. Shades of gray predominate. I particularly liked the royal car being led through foggy London streets. 3. The story - Revisits familiar dramatic ground, the lead up to the war and the English royal family, but finds new life by focusing on the future King's struggle to live up to the role thrust upon him 4. The writing - Provides a string of satisfying payoffs on the way to a solid dramatic conclusion, with witty repartee between the principles that is amusing but never overdone 5. The period - Costumes,settings, radio paraphernalia, autos, streets, palaces, royal hobby horses, ordinary British homes, everything fits together to conjure the time, which is really starting to feel distant.
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4/10
Not as great as they all say. Movie in a box.
Gonissa18 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Eh, this movie didn't suck. It had funny parts and Helena Bonham Carter was a delight. That being said, it felt like a movie in a box. All the characters were more or less Hollywood stereotypes (over emotional protagonist, "unorthodox" aid to the protagonist, supportive wife, harsh father, wimpy priest, etc), and it made no real endeavors to be anything special. It's one of those motivational movies that's supposed to make you believe in yourself or whatever.

Also, this guy is the king of England, but the way this movie portrays his life just puts him in a box. You don't really see anyone outside of the castle or feel any of their reactions, nor do you get any sense of interaction between the king and much of anyone. In fact, the movie at no time gives the audience a sense that George cares about anyone in Britain.

To be fair, the character of George was well acted and done in a more or less believable fashion...if George VI was an emo kid. A very well acted emo kid, but one nonetheless.

Altogether, this movie likes to talk, but it doesn't like to show. For example, (and this is a spoiler) everyone talks a lot about David's mistress and how junked up her life is, but the little pinch of time they have her on the screen, she doesn't do much of anything, offensive or otherwise. In fact, Bonham-Carter's character looks very rude in comparison during that scene. However, the filmmakers do manage to skillfully portray her control over David with just a simple act, so they definitely get a point for that.

Bit more spoilers as I go on. This movie doesn't show all that much about Hitler, the resignation of the Prime Minister (why was he doing that again?), the significance of Churchill, and so on. When you're trying to talk about struggles a man must overcome, you must emphasize those struggles if anyone's going to sympathize with him. Heck, you just gotta show us something if you don't want the movie to be boring.

One more spoiler. At the end of the movie, George makes his speech and gets through it and stuff, and you're supposed to feel all warm and fuzzy because he finally made it. I had a hard time going along with this, mostly because George just made a statement saying that Britain was going into war.

This wasn't just a hard time for George, it was a hard time for all of Britain. We should feel that sense of drama that the country is stepping forward into one of the most perilous conflicts of all history. More than this, we should feel that George is not only learning to talk straight, but also learning to become a good leader. Maybe Logue helped him talk, but how did he overcome his fears of failing Britain? Surely they require more of their kings than making speeches.

Well, anyways, see it if you like. Not a great movie, but not the worst thing 2010 brought us.
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