The King's Speech (15)

Film image

The ViewLondon Review

StarStarStarStarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner05/01/2011

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 110 mins

Stylishly directed, brilliantly written and featuring terrific performances from Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush, this is a hugely enjoyable, emotionally engaging drama that's almost certain to be leading the charge come Oscar time.

What's it all about?
Directed by Tom Hooper, The King's Speech is based on a true story and stars Colin Firth as the Queen's father, Prince Albert - the second son of King George V (Michael Gambon) - who suffers from a crippling speech impediment that makes his royal duties next to impossible. After a succession of useless physicians, his wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham-Carter as the Queen Mum) persuades him to meet unconventional Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) and, despite a rocky start, Albert (or Bertie, to his family) begins to make some progress.

However, in 1936 when his older brother Edward (Guy Pearce) abdicates the throne in order to marry Wallis Simpson (Eve Best), Bertie is suddenly faced with the prospect of becoming King George VI and with war on the horizon, he's expected to deliver a vitally important radio address to the nation.

The Good
Colin Firth might as well start clearing a space on his mantelpiece, as his Oscar for Best Actor is all but assured; he's perfectly cast as Bertie and delivers a terrific performance that isn't afraid to portray Albert as emotionally cold and frequently tetchy. Rush is equally good as Logue (a Best Supporting Actor nod is also a good bet) and there's strong support from Helena Bonham-Carter as Elizabeth, whose warmth and dry humour make her relationship with Bertie genuinely touching.

Hooper's direction is offbeat and interesting throughout, particularly with regard to the way he frames his scenes; he's also a dab hand with a montage sequence. Similarly, the production design is extraordinary and packed with fascinating details, from the pea-souper fog scenes to the row of gas masks hanging up in Buckingham Palace.

The Great
The witty script crackles with great dialogue (Rush is often very funny) and there are several wonderful scenes – highlights include a singing sequence involving a model airplane and a very funny swearing incident. That said, the film does rather airbrush out Albert's Nazi sympathising, aside from a brief scene where he's shown admiring Hitler's public speaking abilities.

Worth seeing?
Superbly directed, brilliantly written and impeccably acted, The King’s Speech is a thoroughly engaging, frequently funny and genuinely moving drama that is certain to pick up multiple nominations come Oscar time. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

The King's Speech (15)
The King's Speech has been reviewed by 10 users
image
01 Sabotage (tbc)

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington, Terrence H...

image
02 Paddington (tbc)

Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Sally Hawkins

image
03 The Maze Runner (tbc)

Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Will Poulter

image
04 Blue Ruin (tbc)

Macon Blair, Devin Ratray, Amy Hargreaves

image
05 The Fault in all Our Stars (tbc)

Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Willem Dafoe

Content updated: 17/04/2014 02:22

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

We Are the Best!

Delightful, uplifting Swedish comedy that marks a long-awaited return to form of the likes of Show Me Love and Together for writer-director Lukas Moodysson.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films