Best Picture Recall: The King's Speech
I, admittedly, have a soft spot for historical dramas, so I suppose it’s no surprise that I looked forward to revisiting the Best Picture winner from 2010. The King’s Speech is based upon the real life friendship and collaboration between King George VI and Australian speech and language therapist, Lionel Logue. It was directed by Tom Hooper, who is no stranger to historical dramas, and it was written by David Seidler. Colin Firth starred as Bertie, the future King George IV, and Geoffrey Rush co-starred as Logue. In addition to these two, some of the supporting cast was also comprised of Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Gambon, and Guy Pearce. In addition to winning Best Picture that year at the Academy Awards, it also took Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Director.
So, why is this Best Picture winner worth another look?
1) An Unusual Focus
In a world where we don’t like to talk about weakness, I think it’s quite incredible that this film focuses on a future king with a stammer. In fact, the film doesn’t just focus on that. Throughout the course of the story, Bertie reveals quite a bit about his difficult childhood and the accommodations he had to make as the son of a king. It was an interesting approach to King George VI, and his friendship with commoner Lionel Logue is something that was a little lost in history until this movie was released.
2) On-Screen Chemistry
The world already knows that Colin Firth is brilliant in his portrayal as Bertie; he won an Academy Award for this portrayal. He delivers on the emotional moments this role demands and somehow makes me believe that he genuinely struggles with a stammer. As brilliant as Colin Firth is in this movie, though, his performance would be incomplete without Geoffrey Rush. Rush’ calm, clever portrayal of Lionel is the perfect balance to Firth’s insecure, sometimes belligerent Bertie. My favorite moments of the film are when they are sharing the screen, and it would be hard to forget the moment where Lionel shows Bertie that he doesn’t stammer whenever he curses. Yes, the language is abundant in those scenes, but it’s a fantastic scene for the two of them.
3) A Relatable Protagonist
I realize that part of the appeal of the protagonist is that the audience is able to identify or empathize with he or she. However, it is not often that I think of a king as being a relatable character; an interesting character, yes, but not someone that I can identify with. Somehow Seidler is able to do just that, and it’s a remarkable feat. Bertie is not just the future King of England; he’s just a guy who has been damaged by his past. He struggles with a stammer, and it limits his ability to believe in himself and his capabilities. At the end of the day, he was just another person who had burdens to bear and personal demons to overcome, just like the rest of us. I love that Seidler leans into that fact, and it’s one of the reasons I adore this movie as much as I do.
I remember this movie taking the Academy Award for Best Picture that year, and as one of the few nominees I had actually watched, I was thrilled. For those that don’t care for historical dramas, it is probably a bit of a chore to watch; I can admit that. However, this movie contains hidden gems in its clever dialogue and moving story. If you are looking for a Best Picture winner to watch again sometime soon, I highly recommend The King’s Speech.
Mollie is a film enthusiast, aspiring writer/screenwriter, and a lover of all things Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. She is the co-founder of The Digital Shore (@thedigitalshore) and Above The Line (@atl_movies). You can follow her many adventures through Twitter and Instagram at @mcbeach.