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Colin Firth is Superb in 'The King’s Speech'


This might be the best movie to see with family and friends this holiday season. The King’s Speech is based on a true story of Albert, Duke of York, second in line to the throne, who hired a speech therapist to help him minimize his stammer. At first, it might sound like an unlikely story for the screen – but the director does a great job showing the tension and anxiety the stammer causes for poor Bertie, played by the wonderful Colin Firth.Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter in "The King's Speech." Photo: blog.beliefnet.com

Bertie dutifully attends public functions on behalf of the king, with his supportive wife, Elizabeth, played by Helena Bonham Carter but if he’s required to give a speech – he unravels.

After another disappointing attempt at a solution, Bertie swears off therapists – but his wife fortunately tries one more time, finding Lionel Logue (played by Geoffrey Rush), an Australian who confidently announces his methods will work.

Lionel is respectful – but pushes the boundaries between he and the Duke… trying to foster a sense of trust between the two men. Bertie resists the questions Lionel asks of about the Duke’s childhood…but Lionel knows the source of the stammer is hidden away. In between the therapy sessions, the film also offers a glimpse of each man’s home life, as they are both devoted fathers.

I’d recommend skipping the trailer – it gives far too much of the movie away. Mr. Firth creates a wonderfully convincing rhythm to Bertie’s stammer, with a lesser actor it might have devolved into caricature. Bonham Carter portrays his wife as his loving, patient partner – who works with him as he begins to apply Logue’s unexpected methods.

Just as Bertie begins to get his stammer under control, other parts of his life begin to get more complicated. Guy Pearce portrays his brother David, next in line to the throne. David however, is too busy playing with his girlfriend, the still married Wallis Simpson, (Nurse Jackie’s Eve Best with superb casting), to be troubled with the responsibilities of his station. Jennifer Ehle plays Logue’s wife, Myrtle.

This is family friendly film - I think a mature teenager who’s a history buff would enjoy this. However, there’s one scene where a bunch of obscenities are rattled off – but seeing as their British, only half of them may sound offensive to an American audience. The uplifting The King’s Speech is the kind of heart-warming story we need in the wintertime.

Contact Diane Cooney at dcooney@philly2philly.com