British films are very often pushed to one side as Hollywood dominates the filming world. But occasionally, some British films receive exceptional recognition. Recent examples include Shane Meadow’s This is England (2006) and Chris Morris’ Four Lions (2010), both of which have numerous awards and glowing reviews. Since winning the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival People’s Choice Award, The King’s Speech has always been destined to be a great film, also receiving seven BAFTAs (after being nominated for fourteen), twelve Academy Awards and seven Golden Globes.
The film follows King George VI, portrayed by Colin Firth (Pride and Prejudice, A Single Man), who is introduced to Lionel Logue, an unorthodox speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush) so that he can overcome his stutter. After George’s brother abdicates, George relies on Logue to help him make a radio broadcast at the beginning of World War II, as the two become really good friends.
Massive credit has to be given to the director, Tom Hooper, who captured the visual style of the mid-20th century very well. Everything from the costume creation to the spectacular design of the sets was to a fantastic standard.
Not only that, but the well-written script by David Seidler, that incorporated elements of humour as well as hard-hitting drama, is also worthy of praise. One scene that particularly stands out is when Lionel instructs George to repeatedly profane.
Furthermore, the film’s score has also been very well composed, consisting of strings and pianos, which perfectly convey the King’s sadness and the growing warmth in the two friend’s relationship.
Something that particularly stood out was the casting. Colin Firth proved fantastic as the Duke of York/King George VI, really fitting into such a difficult role. Likewise, the Duchess of York/Queen Elizabeth, portrayed by Helena Bonham Carter, also provided great realism, bringing her charm and presence to the role. In fact, the same could be said for every character.
Other notable appearances included Michael Gambon (Harry Potter series) as King George V, Timothy Spall (Enchanted, Harry Potter) as Winston Churchill, Adrian Scarborough (Gavin & Stacey) who makes a cameo at the start of the film as a radio presenter and (a personal favourite), Ramona Marquez (Outnumbered) as Princess Margaret.
Photo: Worthing Theatres