The King's Speech review by Alyse Garner - Cinema Paradiso
So far 2011 has been quite the year for the British Royal family, and now days after the big wedding the story of Prince William’s ancestor is released on DVD. As many will know the film stunned both audiences and the Academy at this year’s Oscars and BAFTA’s and has been a real point of pride for the UK Film Industry.
The film tells the story of King George VI, known to those close to him as Bertie. The younger of two brothers’ Bertie never expected to find himself head of the country however his elder brother’s choice to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson finds him thrust into one of the most important and prominent positions in England.
The film’s title refers to one of King George’s most famous moments: 1939’s Declaration of War Speech, which roused the British people upon their entrance into the Second World War. However the majority of the film is spent building up to Bertie’s greatest moment and deals with the impact Bertie’s speech impediment will have upon him.
Having already been subjected to many an impatient and impotent speech therapist Bertie is on the brink of submission when his wife Queen Elizabeth, now affectionately known as the Queen Mum, stumbles across an unorthodox Australian named Lionel Louge who himself suffered with speech difficulties as a child. Having overcome his disability Louge has taken to helping others with their stammers and it is his relationship with the King that drives the narrative of this beautiful Royal drama.
Beginning as a troubled and stubborn man the film displays a touching and tentative performance by Colin Firth as he grows into a strong and confident leader. Firth’s portrayal of the royal was noted by disabled activists for its compassionate and empathetic nature, and it is this that largely makes the film the excellent piece of cinema that it is. The King is shown to be loyal and caring as well as stoic and strong willed:
The film peeks and troughs emotionally, allowing us a privileged insight into the pressures of a King, yet its touching nature never yields; and leaving the theatre I felt almost moved to tears at the sight of Bertie’s triumph. It somehow seems to speak for the British nation as a whole and reminds the rest of the world why we still proudly herald the Crown.