The King’s Speech

The King’s Speech

****

I was not looking forward to seeing this movie. The truth is: I only saw it because the theater was packed that day and “True Grit” was sold out.

This isn’t my kind of movie. British historical dramas are usually overrated, overlong, and overly pretentious.

“The King’s Speech” is very different and much better than the usual British historical drama. While it does successfully appeal to the older art house crowd, the film actually takes the genre and flips it on its head.

Instead of trying to make historical events seem more dramatic and important than they really were, this film puts history in the background and focuses entirely on the personal experiences of the characters.

“The King’s Speech” is a very personal story about an unhappy man finding just enough hope and strength to make it through.

Colin Firth is amazing as George VI, King of England from 1936 to 1952.

His predicament is simple: George had the misfortune of ascending to the throne during the first period in human history where being a decent public speaker was THE essential job of a monarch. And George VI had a bad stutter.

The story is simple: George gets speech lessons from a brash, unorthodox Australian speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush). George’s only goal is to become just competent enough at public speaking so that he doesn’t humiliate himself and his entire country.

The movie works perfectly because Colin Firth’s King George is so completely believable. I have never seen a film that makes the Royal Family seem so sympathetic and so human.

I genuinely cared about King George, and I felt like I knew what he was going through.

“The King’s Speech” perfectly captures the experience of living with a chronic illness:

Firth makes us understand the feelings of hopelessness and despair that come from trying different treatments and never getting the positive results that you were promised.

Firth makes us understand the grudging acceptance of your illness that leads you to resist the people who are trying to help you.

Because I related to George so much, the film’s happy ending really worked for me. When the King successfully recited an important speech that united the British Empire at the dawn of World War II, I was ready to stand up and cheer.

I would just assume this be the last movie of its kind that is ever made. Colin Firth and Co. have absolutely perfected the genre. “The King’s Speech” is THE best British historical drama of all time.

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