This is going to be a rave review. The King’s Speech is a superbly written, acted, directed and edited movie.
As someone with deficiencies in speaking to people, I identified greatly with King George. Public speaking being the world’s biggest fear, I would not be surprised if this movie resonates with many people. Beyond that, I understand perfectly the fear that numbs the tongue while frustration crams your throat, making it hard to breathe, what more when compounded by a debilitating stammer. What makes Firth’s acting so wonderful is the way he works his mouth and throat to so accurately depict the combination of frustration and inability to speak that beset King George. The camerawork and (I presume) direction work in tandem to catch every meaningful expression of Firth’s to create a nuanced portrayal of the unwilling king.
Tightly edited, there was no head-scratching moment superfluous scenes can create. The script was also well-written, with no anachronism to distract. Even more important, the characters were well-fleshed out and never did it feel as if their positions in society overshadow the people they were. In this, The King’s Speech manages to avoid the trap recent biopics seemed to have fallen into – a current trend to romanticize the subjects in an attempt to humanize them. I noticed this in the rather purple-tinted The Young Victoria, which tells Queen Victoria’s story through her courtship of Albert. I liked The Young Victoria, as a piece of fiction. Even (or rather especially) Albert’s display of heroism towards the end, which was rather laughable if one knows what really happened. The only (slight) criticism I have was that King Edward/ Duke of Windsor (Guy Pearce; another fine actor) was made to be an utter, feckless, selfish twit. As a foil to King George, it works – but whether that is true, I doubt. But this is the King’s Speech, not how King Edward abdicated the throne, so I’m not going to quibble (much).
All in all, worth all the fuss.