D.J. Haza presents the next entry in his series of films to watch before you die…
The King’s Speech, 2010.
Directed by Tom Hooper.
Starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Jennifer Ehle, Michael Gambon, Derek Jacobi, Guy Pearce and Timothy Spall.
The King’s Speech is the Oscar-winning historical drama that follows the story of King George VI (Firth) and his battle with a severe stammer. The film was a huge success, grossing over £250 million worldwide on an £8 million budget, and earned a host of BAFTA’s and four Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director Best Actor (Firth) and Best Original Screenplay.
King George VI, or Prince Albert, Duke of York as he starts the film, had suffered with a bad speech impediment since childhood and found it nearly impossible to speak in public. When his father King George V (Gambon) explains the importance of public speaking in the modern monarchy and also insists that Albert’s brother Edward, Prince of Wales (Pearce), will be the ruin of their family when he takes the throne, he demands Albert overcome his public speaking issues.
Albert has almost given up hope of ever overcoming his impediment when his wife Elizabeth (Bonham-Carter) persuades him to see Australian therapist Lionel Logue (Rush). The controversial speech therapist instantly breaks Royal etiquette by referring to The Duke as Bertie – a name only used by close family members – in order to break down barriers between them. Despite their initial differences, Logue aids Albert and helps him develop his ability to speak in public.
When George V passes and Edward ascends to the throne as King Edward VIII the country is thrown into controversy over his relationship with a married American socialite named Wallis Simpson (Eve Best). It isn’t long before Edward abdicates and the crown moves on to Albert as King George VI, where he is required to deliver regular speeches addressing the nation, especially once war is declared against Germany.
The King’s Speech is a fabulous film that examines the life of the monarchy, but with a much more human angle. Rather than all decadence and glamour, the Royal family are portrayed as closer to the average person as they struggle with simple things such as Albert’s speech and Edward’s frowned upon love. The King’s Speech is a film you must see before you die as the result is a film that appeals to more than just the Royal family’s fan club.