When there's so much fuss about something I am usually disappointed in the end. Not this time. I saw "The King's Speech", just released in Italy as "Il discorso del re" and nothing disappointed me. Colin Firth even succeeded in touching my heart with his sober but forceful performance, he was the most human king I've ever seen on screen. Excellent! What do you think? Did Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, check how Tom Hooper represented her father in this film and, above all, did she like it? I'm so curious to know her reaction to the movie. I'm sure she wanted to see it. She is lovely represented in it , as a sweet little girl with her sister Margaret.
I think the Royals can't complain, the film is gentle at dealing with their history and just hints at Edward VIII 's sympathies for Nazism and Hitler; it also depicts George VI in a very positive way, more positive than any historian has ever done so far. Actually, this film focuses more on Bertie, the Duke of York, as the man who unwillingly happened to become king George VI due to his elder brother's abdication (to marry divorced American, Wallis Simpson) ; it deals with the grown-up stammering prince who still has to overcome the fears that haunted his childhood, more than with King George VI and his kingdom . We follow Bertie, the man, through his struggle against his fears and his stammer, until his rewarding victory against his frailty and his coronation as the king of a nation on the brink of a second world war , a nation who couldn't admit a speechless king in a moment in which they terribly needed encouragement and motivation.
The movie is opened by a speech and closed by a speech. The first one, a failure which the Duke of York deeply felt, when he stammered horribly during the closing of the Empire Exhibition in 1925; the end of the story is , instead, the successful speech King George VI pronounced in 1939 , when he managed to announce the break out of WWII and the involvement of their country in the fight against Hitler with a steady voice.
The miracle took place thanks to a long bizzarre therapy - unorthodox for the times and the royal etiquette- which the Duke of York underwent with the help of an extravagant Australian speech therapist, Lionel Logue, who eventually became his close friend and was even knighted. They actually remained friends untile the King's death in 1952.
During the war the King and the Queen stayed in Buckingham Palace , under the German bombing , with food and water rationed, just like all their subjects . After freeing himself from stammering , George VI , though king by chance, thanks to Churchill's precious advice, chose to fight against Nazism and in the name of freedom.
A fantastic, unforgettable couple, Colin Firth as the timid insecure king-to-be, and Geoffrey Rush as the self-confident, full of himself, therapist.
This film is unmissable. Amusing and touching at the same time. Director Tom Hooper, an expert in costume TV drama (Longford, John Adams), was blissed with a stellar talented cast including Firth and Rush, as well as Helena Bonham Carter as Elizabeth, the king's wife, Guy Pearce as Edward VIII, Michael Gambon as the father, king George V, Timothy Spall as Winston Churchill and Derek Jacobi as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Jennifer Ehle as Lionel's wife.
A final brief note . How tender it was to see Lizzie and Darcy in the same room after so many years, but they didn't seem to recognize each other. Jokes apart, everybody knows Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth were the protagonists of the 1995 TV adaptation of Austen's Pride and Prejudice but also Geoffrey Rush has already worked with Colin Firth. They were together in the cast of an Oscar - winning movie: they were respectively Philip Henslowe and Lord Wessex in Shakespeare in love.