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Movie Review: The Kings Speech=4x Oscar Winner!

Updated on February 28, 2011
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Mighty Mom is a keen observer of life. She shares her personal experiences and opinions in helpful and often amusing ways.

2011 Best Picture, Actor, Director, Writing/Original Screenplay
2011 Best Picture, Actor, Director, Writing/Original Screenplay

You don't have to love Colin Firth to love this movie. But I guarantee you will love him in this role! His performance as the noble, honorable, sweet, tortured. angry and tongue-tied Prince Albert is, as the British say, "absolutely brilliant!"

I admit I went to see "The King's Speech" to indulge my Colin Firth fantasies. I've had a not-so-secret crush on him since "Pride and Prejudice" (miniseries 1995). But I am also a huge fan of period pieces. The setting of 20th Century British royal politics was another draw.

Having heard the term "Oscar buzz" about Firth's performance, I knew he'd be in top Firth form (understatement-- in fact, Firth recently won the best actor Golden Globe). But I was also happily surprised by the supporting actors, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter, as well as TImothy Spall as a most convincing Winston Churchill.

Needless to say, I highly recommend this splendid film. It's an historical drama with comedic overtones. Its a story of personal triumph, male bonding, family dynamics (good and bad), the restrictions and expectations of being a monarch, and marriage at its loving, supportive best. In short, "The KIng's Speech" is delightful on many, many levels.

But on to the review.

Colin Firth as Prince Albert confronting a radio microphone
Colin Firth as Prince Albert confronting a radio microphone

A Very Brief Plot Synopsis

Prince Albert (known to the family as "Bertie") is the younger son of King George V. His older brother David assumes the throne as Edward VIII when their father dies. Edward VIII takes up with an American divorcee named Wallace Simpson. Scandal ensues. Edward VIII chooses love over duty and abdicates the throne. Obviously Bertie is next in line and has no say in the matter. Like it or not, he must take his brother's place.

There's only one problem. Bertie suffers from a major stuttering problem. It's painful to watch  him try to address the public. He stutters in private as well, but not nearly as badly.

Bertie's sage and devoted wife Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) takes matters into her own capable, no-nonsense hands. She finds an unorthodox speech therapist named Lionel Logue to help her beloved Bertie.

The movie centers on the therapeutic, but often contentious relationship between Bertie and Lionel. Now, even it only chronicled their budding friendship, the film would stand well on its own. But Bertie is anything but one-dimensional. Through his sessions with Logue we get to know him and understand him as a man as well as a monarch.

More British Royalty -- Henry VIII Goes Wild

5 Reasons to Love this Movie

1. History. Aside from watching every episode of "The Tudors" I must confess I have forgotten most of what I learned about British royal history in high school. As such, I knew the name "Prince Albert' (of phony phone calling fame -- "Do you have Prince Albert in a can? Let him out!!" Ha ha) but not much else about him. I had no idea he stuttered. Nor did I realize he was the father of Queen Elizabeth and married to the Queen Mother.

I did know about some king abdicating for the love of some lady named Mrs. Simpson. Was not aware this was Albert's older brother, tho.

So boning up on my royal family history and what was going on in England right before Hitler's rise to power was a nice bonus for me.

2. Costumes. One of the main reasons I adore period dramas is the clothing. How people dress tells a lot about society at the time. "The King's Speech" is set in an elegant time. Top hats and tails for the gentlemen (or Navy uniform, complete with epaulettes and medals) and fur-collared coats for her majesty. Even after ascending the throne, Albert/George VI and Elizabeth don't walk around wearing crowns. They are very much refined yet understated -- the 1930s equivalent of the current royal family.

Now that's what I call true love.  Elizabeth and Bertie.
Now that's what I call true love. Elizabeth and Bertie.

3. Family. Speaking of royal families, this one's a doozie. On the plus side, Bertie has a fabulous marriage with Elizabeth. They have two adorable young daughters, Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth) and Margaret. Bertie's interactions with his daughters are sweet and affectionate. At one point they ask for a story and he makes up a tale about a penguin who can't hug because he has no arms. It's so clever and creative. What a delightful dad!

On the negative side, we discover some not too savory things about Bertie's childhood. There's a reason Bertie stutters. At the risk of giving away too much, suffice to say that

a) being a royal child is a lonely existence, and

b) even kings are not above playing favorites with their children.

And while at first we think the two brothers are tight, it soon becomes clear that Dad isn't the only meanie in Bertie's life. David/Edward VIII is pretty abusive to his little bro as well.

Other Colin Firth Movies

Other films directed by Tom Hooper

4. Friendship. When you realize just how isolated royals are, the idea that Bertie actually forms a friendship with Lionel Logue is actually a miracle. The path to friendship is a bumpy one. Lionel must earn his patient's trust. Bertie must give himself permission to let down his guard. Lionel is a master at what he does. He doesn't give an inch, nor does he treat Bertie like anything but his patient. This is is what wins Bertie over in the end.

The scenes between Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush are the most entertaining in the film. You'll laugh out loud at Lionel's snappy one-liners, the "physical" therapy Bertie must endure, and the back-and-forth that runs the gamut of emotions (not unlike a "real" friendship).

Oh yes. If you've ever wondered whether monarchs curse, the answer is a definite, "yes!" And it's hilarious!

Tom Hooper's John Adams Miniseries

5. Triumph. This film is based on true events. There's no surprise ending to "The King's Speech." Lionel Logue is engaged to cure Prince Albert/King George VI of his stuttering.  He succeeds. Which is to say, Bertie succeeds.

You can''t help but root for Bertie. He's eminently likeable. He's earnest. He's honorable. Even when he's sputtering in frustration, he's endearing. He's Colin Firth, for goodness' sakes!

Bertie never wanted to be king. But he was destined to be king.

You just know he's going to get it right in the end. And he does.

The rest, as they say, is history.


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    • profile image

      Aries Firth 4 years ago

      I like the movie very much,I fell in love with Colin when I first saw him.I have seen all movies which are played by Colin Firth.Thanks for the hub.Good job!

    • daskittlez69 profile image

      daskittlez69 6 years ago from midwest

      This was an awesome movie. Thanks for the hub.

    • deblipp profile image

      deblipp 6 years ago

      I thought it was a wonderful movie. Great praise should also go to Helena Bonham Carter and to Guy Pearce.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Thank you, brianlokker. I write reviews when a movie really moves me (good or bad). I'm getting ready to write one about "Bernie's Version."

      It's tough when so many of the top nominees are from the same films. Geoffrey Rush definitely deserved Best Supporting Actor -- but like you I haven't seen The Fighter so can't say if Christian Bale was better. He's a great actor, I'll say that!

      The winners sometimes are surprising, aren't they?

      Nice that a "feel good" movie won this year. Quite a contrast from "The Hurt Locker" (which I was afraid to see -- until I saw it and was totally blown away).

      thanks for visiting and your comment! Happy film viewing!

    • brianlokker profile image

      Brian Lokker 6 years ago from Bethesda, Maryland

      This is an insightful review of a delightful movie. I was pleased to see the film win Best Picture and Colin Firth win Best Actor. I would have liked to see Geoffrey Rush win too, but I haven't yet seen "The Fighter" so I can't say whether Christian Bale was better. I look forward to reading more of your reviews.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Thanks, schoolmarm. Apparently we are not alone. Best Picture is quite a coup!!! Best Actor is amazing as well.

    • schoolmarm profile image

      schoolmarm 6 years ago from Florida

      I loved this movie also. Excellent review!

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      We are in total agreement on this, vocalcoach!

      I had no real expectations of this film but it is an absolute DELIGHT! All performances are stellar.

      Now watching a PBS show called "Any Human Heart" and the main character has a major run-in with the abdicated King Edward (Bertie's bro) and Mrs. Simpson. Glad I had the historical background of THS to recognize those two.

      Thanks for visiting and your comment.

      Fingers x'd for Oscars tomorrow! MM

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 6 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      I saw this movie last week and I have to say that every single minute was gripping! Loved it. As much as I love Firth - and he was perfect across the board - for me Rush was the Man of the Hour. I found his acting nothing short of brilliant. Let's hope that both men take something home tomorrow at the Oscar's. Tomothy Spall was terrific as Churchill. Great review and great hub. Rated up and pushed every button!

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Nice to have another member of the CF fan club on board. He sure is an awesome actor. Ahem :-). No really, he is!

    • profile image

      Gigi Thibodeau 6 years ago

      I so agree with you about this film! It was actually my favorite movie of the past year, and like you, I have a bit of a Colin Firth crush! :)

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Wow, LuxmiH! That is a lovely thing to say. You've made my day! Hope you are adjusting to HP and having fun.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting. MM

    • LuxmiH profile image

      Luxmih Eve-Lyn Forbes 6 years ago from Fort Pierce, Florida

      Just have to say how much I admire and love your writing style. Such a wonderful balance of entertaining reading, information and attention to detail.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello A. Villarasa,

      It's good to get a different perspective! Being American, I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other about Prince Charles et al.

      I must say, however, that if Prince Albert/George VI and his Queen Elizabeth are held up as the model, then the current lot don't make the grade.

      I also loved the movie "The Young Victoria." Another fabulous love story about truly noble nobles!

      Cheers, MM

    • A.Villarasa profile image

      Alexander A. Villarasa 6 years ago from Palm Springs

      Hello Mighty Mom:

      I am, sorry to say, not enthralled with the lives of the people that currently populate the royal realm. Now if they watch this movie and learn a thing or two about how to behave like one, then the movie would be well worth the expenses of it being made.

    • schaynu profile image

      schaynu 6 years ago

      Thanks, Mighty Mom. I was thinking of seeing this movie and now it's definately back in my "must-see" category.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Agree with your Watch No Strings Attached Movie!

      Susie Duzy -- We're on the same pages on this one!

    • SUSIE DUZY profile image

      SUSIE DUZY 6 years ago from Delray Beach, Florida

      I saw this movie and also loved every minute of it. I thought that Colin Firth did a fabulous job. Loved the story. I also love history of the royals. Great review.

    • profile image

      Watch No Strings Attached Movie 6 years ago

      This movie is really good..

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      FP, you said it perfectly. It is touching on many many levels. Glad you liked it! And thanks for sharing your thoughts. Cheers, MM

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      Feline Prophet 6 years ago

      Watched it last night, was truly worth the wait! Wonderful performances by both Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. The film touched me on several levels!

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello FP,

      So nice to see your smiling face!

      I can assure you the movie is worthy of all the hype.

      And yes, Geoffrey Rush deserves best supporting actor, for sure!

      I know you will enjoy it immensely! MM

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 6 years ago

      Waiting eagerly to watch the movie - sure it will live up to the hype! While Colin Firth is always eminently watchable, Geoffrey Rush is also a brilliant actor!

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      TG -- I'm so glad to meet a fellow Timothy Spall fan! I absolutely love him as Fagin (sp?) in Roman Polanski's "Oliver Twist." Creepy!

      But as Churchill -- he is pitch perfect!

      So many reasons to see this all-around FAB FILM.

      I hope you enjoy! Your friend, MM

    • profile image

      TattoGuy 6 years ago

      Been thinking of seeing this, I am a big Timothy Spall fan who I think is grossly underated. Great movie review, rated way way up !

    • daravuthz profile image

      daravuthz 6 years ago from Cambodia

      Thanks for sharing Great movie. It is interesting. All the best and wish you good luck my friend :)

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 6 years ago from India

      Hi MM - I've been warned :) Actually, he comes after Hugh Jackman and Simon Baker for me - so I will graciously step aside :D

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Ok kmcmichael,but just remember, Colin Firth is MINE:-)!

      Seriously. It's fabulous. Enjoy. MM

    • kmcmichael profile image

      kmcmichael 6 years ago from Athens, Georgia

      I can't wait to see this movie! Great review!

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello Scribenet. I only write reviews of films that really leave an impact on me. This one is terrific, and not only for Colin Firth! Hope you enjoy. MM

    • Scribenet profile image

      Scribenet 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Great review! I wanted to know more about this film and get a personal review and here it is. I also like Colin Firth...of course!

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Definitely one to see on the BIG SCREEN! It's so atmospheric. You will love it (have you ever not loved a movie starring CF? Me neither!). Hope you can work it out around kids and basketball. Your reward for being a good mom, perhaps? Enjoy. MM

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      I have been dying to see this movie! I'd love to go this weekend, but kids' basketball games take precedence. Just maybe I can sneak a later show in the evening. Great review and I'm with you - love Colin Firth!

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      What a delightful treat to log on this morning and find comments from two old and very dear friends! Thanks for stopping by. I know you will thoroughly enjoy The King's Speech -- whether you are a fan of historical drama, comedy, triumphant endings, and/or Colin Firth (but fair warning, Shalini: My friend Susan1 and I have first dibs on CF. You are welcome to join in the friendly competition, but just to let you know we are serious. Tee hee!) Cheers and happy viewing!

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 6 years ago from India

      Haven't seen it yet - but with Colin Firth in it, there's no way I'm going to miss it. Thanks for a great review MM!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Nice review, my friend. I'll rent this movie soon. Because tomorrow is a weekend, so I have much time to watch "The Kings Speech". Thanks for writing this. Good work, my friend.


    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi Rosie.

      CF totally deserved these awards. I hope he gets the Oscar nod as well. Incredibly portrayal that evokes so many different emotions. I think the word is "nuanced."

      Thanks for sharing. MM

    • Rosie2010 profile image

      Rosie Rose 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Hiya Mighty Mom, I'd seen this movie. I love it. Colin Firth did an awesome performance. He just won Best Actor in the Golden Globes and he also won Best Actor in our Toronto Film Festival last August. Great review.

      Have a nice day,


    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Ashantina, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

      Lmmartin, I didn't realize that Tom Hooper, the director of The King's Speech, was the one who did the fantastic miniseries "John Adams." No WONDER this is such a gem (besides the obvious leading man:-).You will savor every moment. BTW, admitting even more ignorance, I also learned a lot from another wonderful historical flick "The Young Victoria."

      Mentalist acer -- Ha! I know the reference of that quote! No, he didn't use that one, but he did use another tongue-twister, along with some truly unusual, but effective techniques.... Go see the movie! MM

    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 6 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      I wonder if the teacher used the phrase"The rain in Spain falls mainly in the plains",lol,thanks for the review,Mighty Mom

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      I also love historic films. In fact your list is pretty much my list, though I admit to knowing more British history. I look forward to seeing this. Thanks for the review. Lynda

    • Ashantina profile image

      Ashantina 6 years ago

      ..and I'm looking to catch a movie this week.. Thanks for the review!!