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An emotionally compelling drama — The King’s Speech

An emotionally compelling drama — The King’s Speech

Kings Speech - Helena Bonham and Colin Firth

***

Written by David Seidler, The King”™s Speech explores the angst and humanity of a royal who was never meant to be King. Emotionally crippled by a humiliating speech impediment and thrust reluctantly into the limelight, King George VI of Britain (played brilliantly by Colin Firth) finds he must ascend the throne and lead his nation through World War II as he struggles to overcome his embarrassing stutter. The monarch”™s encounter with an unconventional speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) is instrumental in managing this debilitating speech disorder.

Review by Pauline Adamek

During the late thirties, King George VI (father of the reigning Queen Elizabeth II) reluctantly ascended the throne after his elder brother abdicated his position for love. Since childhood George (aka “˜Bertie”™) had been plagued by a dreadful stammer and hence was considered unfit to be King. Thanks to a series of unexpected techniques designed by his speech therapist Logue, Bertie is able to find his voice and guide his subjects through the dark days of a second world war.

This is a terrific story of an unlikely friendship set against a politically charged backdrop of royal intrigues and international conflict. The performances are all stellar and highly acclaimed; the three leading players have already won a slew of awards and are each nominated for an Oscar.

Right from the beginning, Colin Firth draws you into to his private inner turmoil. The terror he feels is writ large across his trembling face and moist eyes as he hesitantly faces a microphone to deliver a speech to a large crowd. The empathetic anguish that crosses his sweet wife”™s face (Helena Bonham-Carter as Duchess Elizabeth of York) also grips us emotionally.

Kings Speech - Firth

This wonderful story is elevated by the marvelous performances. The filmmaking, however, is highly lacking both in cinematic finesse and execution. Both the director, Tom Hooper, and his cinematographer, Danny Cohen, have little cinema experience and it shows in the odd camera angles and bizarre lenses chosen to tell this tale.

Made for a reportedly minuscule budget of $15 million, it seems the numerous producers (fifteen, including Geoffrey Rush) didn”™t skimp on locations and costuming but failed to offer sufficient fee to secure a more experienced shooting team.

Nevertheless, The King”™s Speech relates a little-known and true historical account that will draw you in, assisted by an emotional classical score courtesy of Alexandre Desplat.

Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.

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