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The King's Speech
After the death of his father King George V (Michael Gambon) and the scandalous abdication of King Edward VIII (Guy Pearce), Bertie (Colin Firth) who has suffered from a debilitating speech impediment all his life, is suddenly crowned King George VI of England. With his country on the brink of war and in desperate need of a leader, his wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), the future Queen Mother, arranges for her husband to see an eccentric speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). After a rough start, the two delve into an unorthodox course of treatment and eventually form an unbreakable bond. With the support of Logue, his family, his government and Winston Churchill (Timothy Spall), the King will overcome his stammer and deliver a radio-address that inspires his people and unites them in battle. Based on the true story of King George VI, "The King's Speech" follows the Royal Monarch's quest to find his voice.
Color; DVD; NTSC; Widescreen
||Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Geoffrey Rush, Guy Pearce|
||Color, NTSC, Widescreen|
|Number of Discs:
||The Weinstein Company and Anchor Bay Entertainment|
|DVD Release Date:
||April 19, 2011|
|Average Customer Rating:
|| based on 808 reviews|
Average Customer Review:
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
316 of 341 found the following review helpful:
An enthralling journey which is heart-warming, humorous and genuinely sincere.**** 1/2Dec 18, 2010
By Hal Charles
There always seems to come a time in every British actors career where they must play the role of a historical British monarch. Riding on the success of his career defining performance in "A Single Man" and sampling the glory of Best Actor nominations across the award circuits, Colin Firth comes storming back with another film, determined, this time, to take the all the prizes with him too. But is "The King's Speech" worth its pre-Oscar hype?
Set across the years between the First and Second World War, "The King's Speech" concentrates on the rise of King George VI (Firth) and his personal woes, including his infamous stammer and disdain for public speaking. Obviously being royalty, having an ability to engage the public in moving and inspirational speeches tends to be a necessity of the job. In attempting to overcome this disability, he's entrusted in the care of the eccentric and flamboyant speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush).
Over the course of the film, the two men of distinctly different social classes come to blows but ultimately forge a friendship which will last a lifetime.
Colin Firth's portrayal of George VI (or simply Bertie to his family and friends) was a fascinating insight into the king's troubled personal life. His tragic inability to speak, both in public and to his family, was also tender and, in a way, heart-warmingly humbling.
While Firth will deservedly get the plaudits for his regal starring role, it was Geoffrey Rush's witty, genuine, off-the-wall performance as Logue which personally blew me away, with immense comic timing and inability to be overwhelmed while in the presence of his most prestigious client.
The supporting cast was littered with enough real quality to make any award body take notice, and make most audiences marvel in delight.
The graceful and articulate Helen Bonham Carter gives a honest and loving performance as the late Queen Mother, Elizabeth.
Michael Gambon is sharp and somewhat intimidating as Bertie's father, King George V. Guy Pearce is arrogantly brilliant as Firth's brother and predecessor, King Edward VIII.
While the excellent Timothy Spall shone once again, in his second portrayal as the great Winston Churchill (his first was in October's god awful stop animation, Jackboots on Whitehall). It was also a pleasure to see the classy Jennifer Ehle - who starred opposite Firth in, perhaps, his most famous role as Mr Darcy in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice - as Lionel's wife.
Hooper should also be credited for making a visually engaging period drama, which never once felt tired or dull on the eyes, as a lot of these quintessentially British affairs can so often become.
The film's themes are also an uplifting and enjoyable treat for all; a story of friendship between essentially a prince and a pauper, a man's journey to overcome his own personal adversaries and become the king he was born to be.
Yes we won't lie, this isn't original by any means: these are classic tried and tested formulas that transcends cinema of the ages - but rarely to this level of detail and panache.
Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush's performances make "The King's Speech" an enthralling journey which is heart-warming, humorous and genuinely sincere.
59 of 62 found the following review helpful:
Brilliant on Every Level!Jan 31, 2011
By Grady Harp
THE KING'S SPEECH is one of those rare films that rely on the brilliance of the actors to bring a story/screenplay alive. But the success of this extraordinary film does not stop there. This re-telling of history as written by David Seidler and as directed with enormous sensitivity by Tom Hooper, as captured on film by cinematographer Danny Cohen glows as a background for some of the finest acting before the public today.
The film opens in 1925 as King George V (Michael Gambon) is beginning to fail, leaving the heir apparent to the throne at the time of his death to be Edward VIII (Guy Pearce), a man more concerned with love with the twice divorced Wallis Simpson (Eve Best) than he is with the Royal Lineage. Once the now senile George V dies, Edward VIII takes the throne but soon abdicates to marry Wallis. This passes the throne to the tender but severely stammering Prince Albert (Colin Firth), a man terrified of facing his beloved countrymen because of his speech defect - a defect that his wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) has encouraged him to correct through a series of speech doctors. Elizabeth hears of Australian émigré Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), a poor wannabe actor who gained his knowledge for correcting speech defects teaching returning WW I victims in Australia. Prince Albert (Bertie) and Logue meet and begin therapy by Logue's tough rules before Albert takes the throne. Through a series of rigorous exercises and lessons Logue helps the Prince learn to speak, finally accompanying him to the throne as a speech therapist and giving Bertie (now known as King George VI) the courage and strength to rise to the occasion of leading England through WW II.
Though the above is a brief synopsis of the story, the real message of the film deals with the gradual building of a close friendship between Bertie and Logue - or between royalty and commoner. The manner in which Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush create this memorable relationship represents some of the finest acting in cinema history. The very large cast includes such luminaries as Claire Bloom as Queen Mary, Derek Jacobi as Archbishop Cosmo Lang, Jennifer Ehle as Logue's wife, Timothy Spall in a brilliant turn as Winston Churchill, Anthony Andrews as Stanley Baldwin, and Roger Parrott as Neville Chamberlain. Alexandre Desplat provides the original music allow heavy portions of Beethoven's 7th Symphony and Emperor Concerto (with Steven Osborne as piano soloist). This is a perfect film, well deserving to win the Oscars for every category for which it is nominated. Grady Harp, January 11
114 of 128 found the following review helpful:
Speak The Speech I Pray Thee--A Dignified And Humanizing Tale Of Friendship And RoyaltyDec 31, 2010
By K. Harris
Earlier this year when I started hearing raves about "The King's Speech" on the film festival circuit, I knew it was a film for me. I have eagerly awaited its arrival for many months and, as expected, it is a dignified and well scripted effort. Intelligent, adult entertainment of this sort only hits the theaters around awards time and there is no denying that "The King's Speech" is positioning itself perfectly for the year's biggest competition. In an unusual bit of bravado, David Seidler's screenplay is fashioned as a feel good underdog story. Yes, that's right--King George VI is a plucky survivor who must overcome adversity to win the respect of his family and his nation. It's an unusual tactic, really, but I think that's why so many people are responding to "The King's Speech" in a more personal way than past stories of regal history. The film humanizes this world leader in a very identifiable way.
The plotting of "The King's Speech" is pretty straightforward and most people will know the principle story through either history or the film's advertising. Colin Firth plays King George VI who battled with a bad stutter for most of his life. Trying to stay out of the spotlight, Firth has never worried about ascending to the throne as he has an older brother (Guy Pearce) who is in line for that distinction. However, Pearce ends up being more concerned with an inappropriate romance than with ruling a nation. Firth's wife (Helena Bonham Carter), meanwhile, has contracted an unusual speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush) that breaks all the rules. Insisting on equality with the future King, Rush and Firth form a tentative friendship. But as Firth takes his place in the monarchy just as World War II is imminent, he must unite the nation with his inaugural radio speech. Guess how it goes?
Obviously, you can't beat the cast of "The King's Speech." Bonham Carter is a delight--both haughty and approachable. Rush is as solid as always and Firth is terrific. Truth be told, I personally would have given Firth last year's Oscar for "A Single Man" and Bonham Carter deserved it for "The Wings of the Dove" many years ago. They will, undoubtedly, both be in the running again this year as will Rush. Despite Rush's classification in the supporting actor category, however, don't be fooled. It is clearly a lead role! Guy Pearce is particularly amusing as an elder brother as he is about seven years younger than Firth. And I like seeing Derek Jacobi as an archbishop (amusing because Jacobi also played a famous historical stammerer in the glorious mini-series "I, Claudius").
All in all, "The King's Speech" is both witty and touching. It's a well made and literate film, one that I admired a lot. It did, however, play out exactly as you might expect with little narrative surprise. But that's a small point that is definitely overshadowed by the many great attributes present in the film. KGHarris, 12/10.
103 of 116 found the following review helpful:
Fascinating and moving true storyJan 11, 2011
This isn't just another period piece or costume drama. It's a slice of history with a very real problem that many people deal with: stammering or stuttering. In this case, it's King George VI of England. He takes over after his brother abdicates the throne. George's problem is public speaking, and imagine just how hard it would have been for someone who had to make many broadcasts during his reign. He gets help from speech therapist Lionel Logue and from his loving wife as well.
Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter are at their best here as the three main characters. The interplay between Firth and Rush is especially moving to watch. The two men end up becoming close friends, not just a king and his subject/therapist.
Excellent and highly recommended.
29 of 31 found the following review helpful:
The King's Speech is The Actors' TriumphJan 30, 2011
By H. M Pyles
The plot is simple enough. A loving but frustrated wife seeks help from a speech therapist for her husband, whose severe stammer has defied treatment by renowned specialists. The new therapist, who uses unorthodox techniques, manages not quite to turn the man into an orator for the ages, but to make him a comfortable private conversationalist and a credible public speaker.
Of course, the man will become the King of England, and his speeches will encourage and comfort a nation during an all-consuming war that shaped what it was next to become. That, perhaps, is what first packed movie houses for this small little British set piece.
And packed they should have been. This movie is a masterwork. It does take some forgivable dramatic liberties, though. When Lionel Logue first met the Duke of York, he was already more successful than the sets for his office and flat would suggest. And he worked with the Duke for more than a decade before "Bertie" became King George VI and the stakes of the game soared as the King tried to restore dignity to a crown that had been sullied by his brother's pro-Nazi shenanigans and self-indulgent involvement with Wallis Simpson.
No matter. Filmmaking just doesn't get any better. And in this one, it's all about the actors.
Colin Firth is an actor I have always liked but also found a bit disappointing in his choice of roles. He had settled into too comfortable a groove as a pompous twit whose humanity is slowly called forth by surrounding people and circumstances. True, he played some of these roles to near-perfection, such as Mr. Darcy in A&E's stupendous "Pride and Prejudice". But now I realize that God must have been using these roles to prepare Mr. Firth for this role-of-a-lifetime as King George VI. It is truly one of the finest performances I have ever seen an actor deliver on a screen.
Then there is Geoffrey Rush. As Lionel Logue, he strikes a perfect note as the Australian provincial who must force his way into a fortress of British snobbery and regal reserve to deliver his ministrations to a lonely, emotionally-abused man who is being forced onto a stage that terrifies him. Lionel Logue was a humorous, gentle humanitarian who used his fees from the British upper crust to fund his charitable work for the poor. The writers, director, and Rush take the more subtle tack of bringing these traits forward in the charming scenes where Logue stages a bit of theatrical horseplay with his sons and where he and the King press themselves against the wall to hide from a wife (played by the wonderful Jennifer Ehle) who comes home unexpectedly to find the Queen of England sitting at her dining table.
Then there is Helena Bonham-Carter who, as Queen Elizabeth, was spot on in portraying the remarkable woman who combined regality with compassionate earthiness to make her a rallying point for the British during World War II and a veritable cult figure to a later generation, who admired her heart, her humor, and, ultimately, her astonishing longevity.
I could go on, as the entire cast was beyond reproach. But I'll end now by saying just buy this movie. You'll wear it out before you tire of it.
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