Transforming a Future King

The King’s Speech

In the age of radio and the approaching storm clouds of World War II, King George VI takes over the British throne after his elder brother King Edward VIII abdicates in favour of marrying American divorcee Wallis Simpson. Tom Hooper’s superb drama The King’s Speech is remarkable in the three central performances by the fantastic Colin Firth as King George VI, Helena Bonham Carter as his wife Queen Elizabeth and Geoffrey Rush as an exuberant and unorthodox speech therapist, Lionel Logue. Coupled with a brilliant score by Alexandre Desplat who did the music for Stephen Frears’s drama The Queen and using an evocative and almost gloomy backdrop of post-depression London, The King’s Speech is a film that deftly combines the historical enormity of the abdication crisis and the approaching war, with a far more personal affliction of a reluctant King who has suffered since childhood with a terrible speech impediment.

In the intelligently scripted scenes, written with panache by David Siedler between Lionel and Bertie as King George VI was known, Siedler portrays an unconventional Antipodean speech therapist who recognizes the potential of a prickly nobleman destined to become a great King and gives him back the confidence to rule a nation at a time of immense uncertainty. Geoffrey Rush and Colin Firth are in top form as commoner unleashing the potential of a King and slowly uncovering the psychological stumbling blocks associated with such a speech disability as a Prince suffering the effects of a strict Victorian upbringing and weighted with the destiny of being 2nd in line to the British Throne.


Director Tom Hooper not only shows the historical developments of late 1930s Britain but also the rapid and transforming power of radio and the potential of this new medium to address all corners of the then expansive colonial Empire. Much was at stake for Bertie to conquer his affliction and give Britain and its colonies hope and inspire confidence through the power of radio as the storm clouds gathered with the rapid brutal expansion of the Third Reich, culminating in the outbreak of World War II in September 1939.

The Kings Speech is funny, immensely moving and by far the best film about the British Monarchy to be made in recent years and can stand proudly as a companion to such classics as The Madness of King George and The Queen.

The Kings’ Speech is just the right vehicle to recapture the imagination of audiences worldwide to the powerful allure and the enduring reign of the British monarchy. Colin Firth deserves all the accolades already heaped on him for his subtle and multi-layered performance as Bertie and is supported brilliantly by Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter along with stolid cameos by Michael Gambon as the patriarchal King George V and Claire Bloom as the stoical Queen Mary.

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