Prior to this film, I knew little to nothing about King George VI of England. I knew he was the current queen’s father and that he took the throne after his younger brother abdicated to marry his love, a twice-divorced American woman. Also, he was very well-loved. That was it. I didn’t know that he grew up with a terrible stutter, and struggled to make it through public speeches. This film tells the story of the time leading up to the abdication, when ‘Bertie’ (Albert, later to become King George, played by Colin Firth) received treatment from an Australian practitioner based in Harley St, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush).
I have my usual issue with film representations of historical events, that being that I am left wondering how much of it is real, but I really should get over this. I am not intending to write a dissertation on the events of the monarchy in the lead-up to the Second World War. If I did, I’d use more reliable resources than a fictional film, regardless of how much it is based on fact. While this film is not a peer-reviewed document, it’s a darned good film.
The story is compelling and the characters totally engaging; that a grumpy man who sees himself as far above everyone else (after a lifetime of being told so) could possibly make for a compelling protagonist says a lot about the quality of the film. I have no doubt that I will watch this film again, and probably more than once. Not for a while, though.
The King’s Speech won Oscars for Best Achievement in Directing, Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Colin Firth) and Best Writing, Original screenplay. It was nominated for Oscars for Best Achievement in Art Direction, Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Costume Design, Best Achievement in Film Editing, Best Achievement in music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Geoffrey Rush) and Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Helena Bonham Carter).