|Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy|
|Poster for The King's Speech|
So when I saw the previews for Firth's newest film, The King's Speech, I knew once again that I was about to see a great movie. And I wouldn't be disappointed. This film combines some of my favorite things, so I probably would have enjoyed it had it just been mediocre. My love of British history, royalty, Colin Firth, and stories with an uplifting ending all predisposed me to love this film. But the performances are superior, the sets and costumes pitch perfect, and the story one of warmth and humor that definitely drew me in.
|King George VI and Queen Elizabeth|
The King's Speech is about the man now known as King George VI, born Prince Albert Frederick Arthur George, Duke of York (Bertie to his family.) The film starts with Prince Albert, played by Colin Firth, attempting to give a speech at the end of the 1925 Empire Exhibition at Wembley Stadium. His severe stammer makes it impossible to give the speech, and after seeing several speech therapists at the behest of his wife, Elizabeth, played by Helena Bonham Carter, he gives up in disgust. But she gets him to try one last time, with an unconventional Australian speech therapist and failed actor named Lionel Logue, played by Geoffrey Rush. Logue's insistence on casually calling the Prince by his first name and radical methods unnerve the Prince, but Logue finally convinces him to return and attempt speech therapy.
|Duke and Duchess of York with Lionel Logue|
|Guy Pearce as King Edward VIII|
|Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter|
I think the most surprising performance was that of Helena Bonham Carter. I'd seen her in A Room with a View, so I knew she could act like a somewhat normal person, but it's been so long that I've seen her in anything that didn't constitute a Tim Burton fantasy that I was a little shocked to see her portraying the Queen Mum so sedately. She is the rock of this movie, determinedly and oh-so-politely doing everything she can to help her husband, whom it is clear she loves so much. Even so, Bonham manages to let a little of her own wicked sparkle show through. She's the Queen Mum, but as a young woman in love with a family. Bonham does more than play the Queen; she makes you realize why the prince loves her so much.
|Geoffrey Rush as Lionel Logue|
|King George VI with his wife.|
|Colin Firth as King George VI|
|Queen Elizabeth and King George VI|