“The King’s Speech” Rings True

KIMBERLY KRATZ

“The King’s Speech” is a
movie worth the Saturday
night price of a movie ticket
if there ever was one. In
every aspect, this film
drama fills the heart with
appreciation for the actor’s
art as Colin Firth delivered
an impeccable performance,
which never condescends.
The assistance of Lionel
Logue (Geoffrey Rush), an
unorthodox speech therapist
and commoner is enlisted
by Elizabeth, wife of
Prince Albert, Duke of York
(Colin Firth) to overcome
his seemingly insurmountable
stammer. Elizabeth
(Helen Bonham Carter)
does this despite that Albert
has sworn off help after
multiple failed medical
attempts to cure it. Her portrayal
of Elizabeth is strong
while simultaneously sensitive,
perfectly melding her
astute guidance while lovingly
supporting her husband.
Mr. Logue succinctly
sets the ground rules in a
no-nonsense approach that
allows no room for royalty
to be superior, but rather
levels the playing field.
Based on the true story,
the film poignantly exposes
the trust-building process
that evolves into a friendship
between Albert and
Lionel as the psychological
roots of Albert’s stammering
are uncovered. Even
prior to their first face-toface
moments, Lionel excels
in his ability to earn Albert’s
trust by sending a young
boy, another one of his
clients who also stutters, to
greet Albert in the reception
area.
Albert is comfortable
knowing that he is second
heir to the throne behind his
brother Edward VIII, thereby
safely avoiding the
expectation of royals to be
great orators. After the
death of his father King
George V, Edward abdicates
the throne in a scandalous
foray with an
American divorcee with
England on the brink of war
with Hitler’s Germany.
Albert, reluctantly
enthroned as King George
VI, finds himself challenged
to rise to the occasion of his
circumstance, a role which
Lionel is confident Albert
can play.
Several of the therapy
scenes lend themselves well
to comedy. A stand out
among them is a “breathing
exercise” in which Albert
lies on his back on the floor
while Elizabeth is seated on
his chest with Lionel standing
over the two directing,
“Up comes Her Royal
Highness and down goes
Her Royal Highness” as
Albert breathes. These
sorts of scenes provide
laugh out loud moments to
balance those which expose
Albert’s raw loneliness.
In an early scene, Albert
tells a bedtime story to his
two young daughters to
their mutual delight. In a
later scene though, Albert,
then King George VI opens
his arms to hug his girls but
is greeted with a polite curtsey
and a “your majesty”
from the two. His pain is
palpable while it provides a
glimpse of the human side
of royalty.
Set aside for a moment
that Mr. Firth’s performance
in this film earned him
the nomination nod for an
Oscar. He has already won
Best Actor in a Drama at the
Golden Globes and Leading
Actor at the British
Academy of Film and
Television Arts Awards (the
British equivalent of the
Oscars.) Geoffrey Rush and
Helena Bonham Carter,
each won awards for their
supporting roles at BAFTA.
The film received seven
nominations for Golden
Globes, 12 for the Academy
Awards, and it has won
seven awards at the
BAFTA’s and awards from
the Director’s Guild and the
Producer’s Guild.
The performances, costuming,
scenery and music
blend to enrapture even the
harshest critic. Run — don’t
walk to see this movie. It is
the best drama of the
decade.