The King's Speech tells a story that is solemn in its hilarity. It centers on Prince Albert (Colin Firth), the Duke of York and future King of England, who suffers from a debilitating stutter. It proves to be a particularly crippling impediment as the man finds himself essentially emasculated and prone to fits of rage. The issue becomes a bigger problem as his wife (Helena Bonham Carter) sees the possibility of the crown falling upon his head as his father, King George V (Michael Gambon), is ill and his brother, Edward (Guy Pearce) may be an unsuitable choice with his dalliance with an American divorcee. She sets out for a possible cure for her husband's ailment. Enter Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), a failed Australian actor who has set up a speech therapy operation. There is also the impending threat of Hitler and Germany hanging over their collective head.
Certainly sounds like heady stuff, fortunately it has been boiled down to a rather simple tale of a man and his speech therapist. The serious underlying drama is always there, but this movie seems more intent on entertaining and making you smile. In the end, the audience wins, getting some serious stuff with a smile on your face.
The movie is a period piece crossed with the formula of a romantic comedy. You have the meet-cute moment of Albert and Lionel, their tentative steps toward a relationship, the betrayal that drives them apart, and then the ultimate reunion to save the day. It is actually a pretty interesting mash up of styles.
The King's Speech is a very enjoyable film that does not seem to take itself too seriously, which worked great for me. You see, I found that I did not really care about the big picture story. What really worked for me was the performances. The trio of Firth, Rush, and Bonham Carter are simply fantastic. The relationships, their dedication to the characters, and the amount I actually became invested in their lives all make this a very worthy film.
I am sure that many will get more out of this than I, but for my money the performances were enough. Colin Firth is just mesmerizing as the Prince, aka Bertie. His mannerisms, his angry outbursts, his repressed emotions and conflicted feelings, fantastic. Likewise, Geoffrey Rush's quirky unconventional speech therapist, the guy is a rip.
This is an interesting film that takes a different look at history. It really is a blast. Is it an important movie? I don't think so, but it is one that leaves a surprising impression.