- Running time:
- 118 minutes
- Colin Firth -
- King George VI
- Geoffrey Rush -
- Lionel Logue
- Helena Bonham Carter -
- Queen Elizabeth
- Guy Pearce -
- King Edward VIII
- Timothy Spall -
- Winston Churchill
As a Prince of England, Bertie (Colin Firth) is required to represent his family, his country and his people, but a serious speech impediment makes it difficult to fulfill his duties. After a series of royalty-approved treatments go nowhere, his loving wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) arranges for Bertie to meet with speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), a frustrated actor who has no idea his next client will soon be known as King George VI.
The buzz: Already a film festival favorite and heavyweight Oscar contender, “King’s Speech” arrives with heavy expectations. Will a warm reception help it become the first British costume drama to win Best Picture since “Shakespeare in Love”?
The verdict: It doesn’t matter if watching a movie about the British royal family sounds like fun or homework—“The King’s Speech” is hard to resist. Amusing and energetic, it’s straightforward crowd-pleasing entertainment built on strong characters, sharp writing and solid filmmaking. Director Tom Hooper—an Emmy winner for HBO’s “Elizabeth I” and director of last year’s overlooked “The Damned United”—doesn’t break any new ground but does have a distinctive and artful way with bringing the recent past to life. His trust in the material and the actors is evident. Firth and Rush emerge as an inspired team—both keep their characters appropriately down to Earth when it would’ve been easy to overplay the comedic elements or each man’s individual struggle. Their natural charm and effortless chemistry is a big part of what makes the film so endearing. The supporting cast helps too—from Bonham Carter’s warm witty wife, to the great actors who round out the ensemble (including Michael Gambon, Guy Pearce, Jennifer Ehle and Derek Jacobi). Everything and everyone on screen is so professional it’s tempting to reach for the old cliché: fit for a king. Better yet, “The King’s Speech” is fit for audiences everywhere.
Did you know? Screenwriter David Seidler stuttered as a child, which led to his fascination with George VI. In addition to the film, Seidler has also written a stage version of “The King’s Speech” which could be produced as soon as next year.
Find showtimes for the PG-13 version of "The King's Speech" here.
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