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February 28, 2011 | by  | in Film |
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The King’s Speech

The King’s Speech is set in that overshadowed period of history between WWI and WWII: a simpler time, where wireless communication was a new and exciting invention, and you could wear a top hat without looking like a guitar-playing weirdo. (Slash, you’ve ruined the top hat for everybody!)

The film focuses on the Duke of York and eventual King Prince Albert (Colin Firth), and his battle against a crippling speech impediment. The grand old Duke of York has his 10,000 men, but with his speech impediment, he’s never going to be able to march them up the top of the hill… let alone down again.

The Duke gulps like a fish and can barely form syllables, let alone sentences: it’s cringeworthy watching him attempt to speak, and easy to identify with the anguish and embarrassment he feels. After having seemingly tried everything to fix his p-p-problem (sorry), the Duke is distraught. His wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) persuades him to meet one more speech therapist, who goes by the name of Lionel Lowe (Geoffrey Rush). Lowe is a renegade who plays by his own rules, but goddammit, he gets results! From here on out, the film turns into a pseudo-buddy film, as Lowe and Bertie develop their friendship while developing the Duke’s ability to speak.

The film is mostly engaging due to Firth’s self-deprecating humour. The acting is top-notch throughout, with Firth in particular completely believable, both as a late 1920s royal and a man with an all-encompassing speech disorder. Bonham Carter enunciates like a proper English lady (her rain certainly stays mainly on the plain). The score is minimalist, but helps to set the scene and never draws attention away from the Duke’s battle with himself.

A lot more fun than its dour subject matter would suggest, The King’s Speech is a simply splendid film.

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