Monday, February 7, 2011

The King's Speech

It was a lovely weekend in Palm Springs, in fact almost too nice not to be outdoors. However earlier in the week I had set my mind on going to the Regal Cinema to see The King's Speech. No matter how nice the weather was, I was going to see this film! Admittedly I am a bit of an Anglophile, so I knew I would enjoy the film. Having lived in England many many moons ago I remain to this day affected by and inclined toward, all things British (which includes England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland for those of you interested). But once again I digress. Back to The King's Speech.

Above all, this is a film with two broad themes: overcoming obstacles in one's life, and friendship. The film is based on a true story, about England's King George VI. It starts with a aging and unwell King George V (played rather well by Michael Gambon) and the goings on of The Duke of York (Guy Pearce), heir to the throne who is scandalously infatuated with American soon-to-be-divorcee Wallis Simpson.  Upon the death of his father, he becomes King Edward VIII and is basically having one big party after another. His mind is on the love of his life, Wallis and nothing will stand in his way of pursuing the relationship. As the monarch is also head of the Church of England, he is not permitted to marry a divorced woman. Therefore he abdicates the throne, which is immediately thrust on his brother, Prince Albert or "Bertie" (amazingly portrayed by Colin Firth) who suffers from a bad case of the stammers and fear of public speaking.

His wife, Elizabeth (known to the world as the Queen Mum in later years) offers support, love and encouragement to help her husband conquer his fears (Helena Bonham Carter offers up an inspirational performance here). She introduces her husband to a speech therapist Lionel Logue, a rather unorthodox therapist who engages in a series of amusing and insightful sessions to cure the future and then newly crowned King of England.

Despite being two completely different men, with very different backgrounds in every manner, they unknowingly forge a friendship that lasts through their lives. At stake is an ever-rising threat from Adolf Hitler who eventually declares war on England. The story builds to the King's coronation and then to his defining moment, The King's Speech to his nation where he informs them the nation has been drawn into war with Germany. The King learns about himself, his life and about friendship. 

The story is quite inspiring and very entertaining. It has genuinely funny moments and despite having seen the film here among a theatre of Americans, it felt very much like the entire audience connected with the King. As a matter of fact, when the film ended the audience applauded, which took me by surprise.

If you are looking for a feel good film with a dash of history, I highly recommend The King's Speech. It's worth the two hours of your time. 


kenju said...

I want to see it, and had life not intervened, I would have been in the theater yesterday. I will go soon.Thanks for the review; I have yet to see a bad one.

A Lewis said...

I loved it. It was the one movie that we have seen in years and I enjoyed learning a bit about this piece of our world's history. Super!

Diane J Standiford said...

Can't wait to see it, on my VCR.

KathyA said...

I've heard nothing but praise for this film. I look forward to viewing it.

Cheryl said...

I loved the movie, and you gave it a great summary. I know people who've seen it 3 times! It's the first movie I've seen in ages.

chitowngirl said...

I agree--this movie is superb! One aspect that really made it special was the casting of the smaller historically significant characters. I have always been interested in Wallis Simpson and Winston Churchill--the performances in "The King's Speech" absolutely captured the essence of these remarkable people. Well done on every side.

lime said...

i saw it last weekend with my daughter and we both enjoyed it thoroughly. really a well told story.

lime said...

as an aside, i couldn't imagine what on earth might give it an R rating before i saw the film. when the moment came i absolutely HOWLED in laughter. it's a shame though that the folks responsible for ratings gave it an R for that reason because it was not in the least bit gratuitous. it was entirely appropriate for the story and it's not a reason i'd keep my kids from seeing it.


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