Review: The King’s Speech (2011)

The KIng’s Speech is the latest offering from British directer Tom Hooper who also directed The Damned United (2009) about the life of Football legend, Brian Clough. I’ve been really looking forward to seeing this film and starting of my 2011 list. The King’s Speech doesn’t disappoint, its simply exquisite with everything from the acting to direction and to cinematography. I am not a big period drama viewer but with a cast like Colin FirthGeoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter and the fact its based on a true story had me hooked.

Colin Firth plays King George VI or “Bertie”, a man who has been plagued by a humiliating stammer from most of his life. Bertie is thrusted into the public when his brother, King Edward abdicates the thrown to marry a twice divorced woman. Bertie has tried many speech therapists  and physicians to cure his stutter but to no avail until he meets an unorthodox Australian speech therapist by the name of Lionel Logue played by Geoffrey Rush. With the country on the brink of war with Germany; the support from his wife, Elizabeth played by Helena Bonham Carter, together along with Lionel Logue they help Bertie to incite confidence in his nations people to lead them into war.

Colin Firth’s acting is sublime and really takes the role on, I was really impressed by him especially after hearing some of the real archive recordings of King George VI speeches that Firth really studied for the role and that the stutter he developed seemed natural and real. Geoffrey Rush is great supporting actor and gives the film its natural humour and makes it seem more human and real. And Helena Bonham Carter’s subtle yet very well acted role as Elizabeth was very fresh and nice to watch.

This is Tom Hooper’s second major feature film, third overall. His last film, The Damned United which was also based on a true story brought his direction to the fore. The King’s Speech is beautifully shot and Hooper’s attention to detail is quite something. You see specific extra attention when you see a microphone in shot as its enhanced with the background out of focus to show how important this inanimate object his and how paralyses Bertie with fear.

I really enjoyed the film and found all performances were really good, it looks like Hooper could be the next leading British director and be interesting to see what he does next, wether its another true story English story. The mixture of drama and comedy really made the film stand out and i’m glad this was my first film of the new year. Colin Firth fully deserves an Oscar based on his performance and I highly recommend people to go see it.

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