The King’s Speech (2010)

The King's Speech (2010) Movie Review
The King’s Speech (2010) DVD / Blu-ray

By: Oberst von Berauscht (A Toast) –

A Toast

In the United States, filmmaker Tom Hooper is best known for helming HBO miniseries John Adams, a historical drama depicting the events of the American Revolution as seen by the aforementioned founding father (and if you haven’t seen it, I certainly recommend it).Like John Adams, The King’s Speech uses a historical backdrop to tell a character’s story.

Albert, the Duke of York (Colin Firth) was a little seen figure in the British House of Windsor.This was because as a young child he developed a stammer and thus hated public speaking.As he was second in line for royal succession, pressure built for him to deliver speeches.Finally he meets up with Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), an Australian speech therapist with unique credentials and an approach that hasn’t been tried (you might call him a cunning linguist). Over the next decade, Albert would ascend to the throne to become King George VI, with Lionel at his side helping him through difficult speeches and turning points in history.Ultimately proving the maxim;

Mel Brooks, King Louis XVI, The History of the World, Part IIt’s good to be the King…

It is easy to make a historical drama stuffy, overinflated with self-importance, and reeking with pontification.Thankfully, Hooper avoids this every step of the way.The film is given a surprisingly humorous edge thanks to the wonderful chemistry between Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush.

The dialog is sharp and full of a distinct wit found almost exclusively in British comedy.Speech impediments are no laughing matter and the film never makes fun of King George’s affliction.David Siedler’s script instead uses humorous dialog to break up the drama and ultimately to humanize these historical figures. Colin Firth plays a King fearful that his speech issues will cause him to be associated with “Mad King George III”.

Rowan Atkinson, BlackadderTo this, Mad Jack McMad could only say “wobble”…

It was indeed a time in history when any frailty was seen as weakness, or even a sign of psychological malfunction.And Geoffrey Rush’s Lionel serves as the perfect counterpoint to this, having seen many people with impediments to speech go on to greater things.

Irish Parliament, Star, Useless GobshitesAll of whom could do a better job governing than the Irish Parliament

In one of the film’s most important scenes, Albert appears at Lionel’s office on a day they are not supposed to meet and tells a story that has a lot of bearing on his seeming lack of confidence.This seemingly simple dialog is shot by crosscutting between the two.When the camera focuses on Rush, it is a low camera shot looking up, which is contrasted with shots of Colin Firth angled down.This is just one example of how Hooper uses camera placement to comment on the scene and convey which characters hold the advantage over the other.

He used a similar method in John Adams, but he seems to have learned to be more subtle in this approach.Historical dramas seem to benefit from lower tech camera techniques; it emphasizes the importance of the events and characters.Too much glitz prevents you from investing emotionally in the events.

Michael Bay, Pearl Harbor 2: Day of InfamyMichael Bay on the set of Pearl Harbor II: Day of Infamy

The film’s climax is (and it isn’t a spoiler because the trailer gives it away) King George VI’s speech to his country regarding the British Empire’s entering of WWII.For a film about the King working with a speech therapist, there are surprisingly few scenes covering the King’s speeches.This works to the audience’s advantage, providing a level of suspense which culminates in this well-shot sequence.The King delivers his radio address, his first of many, to an audience of millions.This rousing scene is the culmination of all the hard work both Lionel Logue and George VI put into giving the British people a voice of resistance against the oppressive Third Reich.

The King’s Speech uses clever dialog and splendid performances to give a rather straightforward story unique detail, making it one of the best films of the year.


Worth abdicating the throne.


Bonus Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Colin Firth stutters (see how long you make it)

Take a Drink: whenever Colin Firth speaks a full sentence without stuttering

About Oberst von Berauscht

Oberst Von Berauscht once retained the services of a Gypsy to imbue in him the ability to accurately describe the artistic qualities of a film up to seven decimal points. To maintain this unique skill, he must feast on the blood of a virgin every Harvest Moon, or failing that (and he usually does), he can also make a dog do that thing they do where they twist their heads slightly (you know, when they're confused about something) at least a few times a week. I've gotten way off track here... The point is, Oberst is one of the website's founders, so... yeah

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