‘The King's Speech’: An Astute and Charming Depiction of King George VI’s Arduous Vocal Therapy
The King's Speech (2010) is an astute and highly engaging historical drama starring Colin Firth as England's Prince Albert (later King George VI), who struggled with dysphemia throughout his lifetime. Prone to a discouraging stammer, often in moments of heightened anxiety, Bertie (as royal family members called him) seeks assistance from a renowned Australian speech therapist named Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush).
Spanning the period preceding King George V's death through his son King Edward VIII's abdication and Bertie's own ascension to the crown in 1936, the film closely follows the unorthodox treatment that Logue administers—as well as the close friendship that fosters between the two gentlemen. Compelled to deliver a broadcast to the full British Empire detailing Britain's declaration of war with Nazi Germany in 1939, Bertie must clamber to prepare himself for his address, with Logue at his side as both therapist and confidante.
Written by British playwright David Seidler (inspired by his own childhood struggles with dysphemia) and directed by Tom Hooper (Les Misérables, The Danish Girl), The King's Speech is a delightful and absorbing tale of prevalence and camaraderie. Firth is magnificent in his Oscar-winning depiction of the astute yet fragile monarch, while Rush is altogether extraordinary in his highly humanistic portrayal of an unheralded yet highly integral participant in British history. Beautifully crafted and laced with pitch-perfect touches of humor and geniality, it's a grade-A cinematic triumph.
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