The King’s Speech

The King’s Speech is getting lots of Oscar buzz and it deserves it all.

This is the story of how Queen Elizabeth’s father overcame his stuttering to become a well-spoken George VI. Few even knew he had a stuttering problem; it was kept a secret and he avoided public speaking after some early disasters. But when his brother (Edward VIII, played by Guy Pearce) abdicated in 1936 to marry Wallis Simpson, he became king just as WW II threatened and it was necessary for him to speak to the Empire.

Colin Firth plays the prince who becomes a reluctant king wonderfully (most consider him a shoo-in for the Best Actor Oscar and he’s already won a Golden Globe). And his award-winning performance is matched by Geoffrey Rush playing the speech therapist that helps him overcome the stuttering and also becomes a friend.

While this doesn’t sound like material for a great movie it works all the way, helped by excellent production values and great period atmosphere. In addition to the great performances by Firth and Rush, there’s a bang-on script by David Seidler and solid direction from Tom Hooper.

There’s also a superb supporting cast: especially Helena Bonham Carter as Firth’s practical wife and Michael Gambon as his father, George V.

And like The Queen, there’s something very appealing about seeing life behind the scenes in the royal family, including scenes of Queen Elizabeth as a child.

Rating: five deer out of five

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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.