Saturday, January 22, 2011

Movie Recommendation-The King's Speech

By Lisa Karon Richardson

Okay, so it’s got Colin Firth, I don’t have to tell you to go see it. But I have a blog post to do, and by golly, I’m going to do my duty.

The Duke of York, affectionately known as Bertie, stuttered, and for a man constantly in the public eye it was an agony. He tried several doctors until in 1926 he began seeing a speech therapist named Lionel Logue. On the surface it doesn’t seem like the premise for a gripping movie.

But I found the movie compelling. Bertie is portrayed as self-conscious and diffident, but also passionate and witty, loyal and brave. His battle is internal as he is faced with devastating circumstances, beginning with the death of his father. We can see the war within him as he tries to balance his loyalty to his brother’s reign, with his sense of duty to the country. And finally as he assumes the role of king, which he never wanted, and must face the Nazi threat.

Colin Firth is superb in his role as the tormented Bertie, and Geoffrey Rush also does a fantastic job as the speech therapist, and would-be actor, Lionel Logue. His irreverence is a perfect contrast to the buttoned-up duke. It’s his informality and friendliness that slowly drag the duke from his shell and force him to see his potential.

One word of caution. There is some bad language, which earned the movie an R rating. The context of the cursing rendered it totally inoffensive and frankly really funny, and I’m usually sensitive to cussing. Others may not share my sense of humor though.

Overall, the dialogue snaps along, even with the stuttering, and the settings are gorgeous. Character development in this intimate story is fantastic. I highly recommend it. I even sacrificed in preparation for this post and forced myself to see it twice.

Oh, and make sure you catch the previews. Looks like the new Jane Eyre is going to be good!

Anyone else see The King’s Speech yet? What did you think?


  1. Lisa, thanks for going above and beyond the call for us!

    I have to admit I read your post before it was "Live" because I'd love to see this movie. As Colin Firth just won the Golden Globe for this role, you seem to be in good company.

    You're right. The story on the whole may not sound so intriguing. "Bertie" was the second son, so not expected to be King. Then came that great love story of his brother Edward who gave up the throne to marry Wallis Simpson, the American divorcee'. What an emotional time for George. He seemed to have been very well-loved during his reign.

    I'm also anxiously awaiting the new Jane Eyre. Maybe we can do a Siskel and Ebert review on that one. I love the most recent version with Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens so I'll be extra picky.

  2. One of the things I found most interesting, Deb was the way the "love story" was portrayed. I think Americans have romanticized the affair. I mean, the idea of a man giving up a throne for the woman he loves is pretty dang attractive. Without actually being slanderous the movie manages to convey more of the realities of the situation.

    George was well-loved, but he had to earn it. At first there was a vocal group who wanted the "real" king back. It was his courage and tirelessness through WWII that earned him the love of the people. Both he and his wife, actually.

    I'd love to do a tag team review. That would be fun!

  3. Haven't seen it yet, but sounds good. Love Jane Eyre, I'll definitely be looking for that one.

  4. My husband and I have been wanting to see this, but as it has only been at a theater about 40 minutes from our house, we haven't been able to find the time to go! We're hoping it will still be out there when basketball season ends! Thanks for the review, Lisa.

  5. I think you'd enjoy The King's Speech, Dina. It's not a story about easy answers, but about persistence, and the process, and relationships.

  6. Anne, If you can't get to the theater put it in your netflix queue or make a point to get it from Redbox. You won't regret it!

  7. We were having dinner with some of my husbands colleagues (who I call the ex senators) and both republican and democrat who had seen it sang it's praises... now that's a feat!!

    Thanks Lisa, if I don't catch this before it leaves theaters I will kick myself!!!

  8. Getting the parties to come together is definitely a feat, Cheryl!

    I was impressed anew with Colin Firth's abilities. He is just spot on in this film. Really makes you feel for Bertie, without making him in a weak character.

  9. I can't wait to see this movie and Jane Eyre as well. When I was in elementary school I had a speech impediment. I'd say I have to catch the buth instead of bus. It was hard enough in school, I can't imagine being in the public eye like Bertie.

  10. Jill, they do a great job of showing just how excruciating it was for him. But, though we hurt for him, he doesn't come across as pathetic. Still heroic.

    I just can't say enough good things about it.

  11. Deb, I'm gonna disagree with you a tad on the Ruth Wilson Toby Stephens version of Jane Eyre. While it was the best of the four miniseries and while Ruth Wilson was fabulous, Mr. Stephens yelled his part.

    I'm hoping the new Jane Eyre does a better job conveying the emotional connection between Jane and Rochester that none of the miniseries (IMHO) captured. Granted, having a hottie of an actor playing Rochester should help much. :-)

    Lisa, thanks fot this review. I'm looking forward to buying a dvd of the movie soon since it's not a movie hubby deems "ticket price worthy."

  12. I can't say enough good things about this film, either, Lisa. Colin Firth deserved the Golden Globe and I hope he wins the Oscar, too. His acting was incredible, and the film was truly great. I don't say that very often!

    I agree with you about the "R" rating, too -- language in films is often gratuitous and irksome, but the scene which earned this film the "R" was neither of those to me. Others may not agree, but it didn't bother me at all.

    The Jane Eyre preview was awesome! My husband thought it looked almost like a horror film, though. (He has not read the book.) Either way, I can't wait to see it, either!

    Oh, and I've said this offline, but seeing the King's Speech made me go into a total Colin Firth frenzy and I watched Pride & Prejudice right away...

  13. Gina, the new Rochester is quite dashing. The actor's name is escaping me at the moment. I hope you get a hold of it soon. You won't regret it!

  14. Susie, I'm so glad I'm not the only one to have seen it! And I'm extra glad, I'm not alone in my assessment.

    The Jane Eyre trailer definitely captures the gothic feel of the story, and if I didn't know the story it would seem like a horror movie. Hope they don't go too far down that road with it.

  15. Oh bother. I think Jane Eyre comes out in March. So I'm going to go look up the trailer again.

    Can you believe I don't have that version of P and P? I might just have to find out if The King's Speech is in a theater around here and try for a matinee. I hate waiting so long for the DVD release!

    Gina, I never thought about Toby Stephens shouting his part. I thought he portrayed one of the more likeable Rochesters and I felt their emotional connection. I will just have to watch it again IF I HAVE TO, she said, slumping her shoulders wearily.

    Susie and I have been working on our upcoming Austen posts and I had a fun day collecting Darcys. So there.

    Hey Cheryl! Good to see you. Let us know if you got to see the movie or not.

    oh-cool stuff-I've watched a few streaming netflix on my laptop. Recliner, Laptop, Richard Armitage. life is good.

  16. I'm back. Did my homework. One reviewer said the new Jane Eyre did not stick to the original book because Mr. Rochester is not supposed to be good looking. tee hee.

    My shoulder, back, neck, forearm, wrist and hand hurt. I am going to take some time away from my WIP.

    hmmm, what shall I do? (IOW what movie to watch?)

  17. Poor, Deb. You sacrifice so much for craft. Don't strain your eyes looking at Richard Armitage too much. I appreciate you be willing to take on such an onerous task. All in the name of authenticity of course.

  18. Having heard Colin Firth's acceptance speech at the Golden Globes...I think I'd have gotten much farther in life if I'd had a British accent.

    Definitely want to see this one. Thanks for the recommendation.


  19. Thanks, Dan. Don't tell anybody, but I sometimes forget that I'm not English. I listen to the accent so much in movies, books-on-tape, TV, etc that it comes almost as naturally as American English.

  20. Lisa,

    Makes you wonder if any of the Brits hear our accent and wish they could sound the same. Hard to fathom it, but I guess it's possible.

    I've been so surprised at how many British and Australian actors show up movies and TV shows in American roles, and you'd never know it until you hear them in an interview.


  21. And lets not forget all the Aussies. Seems like there are a ton of big name Australian actors now. Although it's funny but when we were in Seychelles, I made a joke about being the Queen of England in a tony English accent and no one got it. At all.

    They couldn't tell the difference in the accent. They couldn't tell the difference between a midwestern, new england or southern accent either. Guess you gotta know the language intimately.


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