If you're looking for the first good movie of the New Year, I’ve found it for you. Based on a true story, “The King's Speech” starring Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush, has a brilliant balance of stuffy British demeanor and comedy.
In the film, Firth is the Duke of York who suffers from a stuttering problem and speech therapists are getting him nowhere.
Along comes Lionel, played by Rush, a self proclaimed speech therapist with no credentials, but tales of how he helped World War 1 soldiers to over-come shell shock. It's good timing because the Duke's brother Edward, the current king of England, leaves the throne to hook up with a divorcee. This makes the duke of stammering king, with the challenge of making radio speeches during World War 2.
Helena Bonham Carter plays the Duke’s wife, who is actually the one who gets the speech coaches, and as a last resort comes up with Lionel. She represents herself and her husband as the Johnsons, and uses a dry British wit when sparring with the teacher over the ground rules.
No matter what movie she's in, I cannot take my eyes off this lady. She has that “whatever it is.”
It’s Rush who gives this film most of its levity.
If the real Lionel was half as funny as Rush, that would explain in part how the king got through his stage fright and his speaking challenges. That plus the confidence and encouragement that one friend gives to another.
Winner of Golden Globes, “The King's Speech” will be a heavyweight contender against “The Fighter” and “Inception” for some Oscars. The superb acting and true story aspect solidifies its chances.
Firth's fear of speaking is as convincing as a convict minutes away from the electric chair, or more aptly a sweaty fourth grader on his or her way up to the front of the class to give an oral book report.
This is a great film, and it reminded me of something somebody said once. Over enunciation is the key to more money.