Monday, January 3, 2011

Review: The King's Speech

Months ago, I had heard that Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle (both from Pride and Prejudice) were going to be in a new movie called The King's Speech. Since I am a big fan of Pride and Prejudice, I was interested in it. There was limited information out there at the time about it, so I waited for new information to come out. Months later, the media became full of articles about The King's Speech. I was glad that a theater not too far away from me was playing it, as it was only released to limited theaters.

Promotional Art
When the future King George VI, Prince Albert/Bertie (Colin Firth), delivers a speech that doesn't go well because of his stammer, his wife, the future Queen Mum, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) enlists the help of the controversial speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffery Rush), to help Bertie overcome his stammer. The two eventually become close friends, and Bertie's stammer gets better and better.

When King George V (Michael Gambon) dies, the crown is passed to Bertie's brother, David (Guy Pearce), who becomes King Edward VIII. However, David wants to marry the twice divorced Wallis Simpson: this will, however, cause complications with the crown due to a law that says that a king cannot marry a divorced woman.

The cast if full of well known British actors and actresses: Colin Firth (Pride and Prejudice) as Bertie, Geoffery Rush (Pirates of the Carribbean) as Lionel Logue, Helena Bonham Carter (Alice in Wonderland) as future Queen Mum Elizabeth, Jennifer Ehle (Pride and Prejudice) as Myrtle Logue (Lionel Logue's wife), Michael Gambon (Emma) as King George V, Derek Jacobi (The Old Curosity Shop) as the Archbishop among others.

The acting was splendedly done and appeared well on screen! Whoever did the casting for The King's Speech did a really good job for picking actors and actresses that looked like the real people. I posted a picture below so you could see the comparison. Some people have complained that Colin Firth did not look like the real Bertie, but I don't think they look too different from each other. I'll discuss this more in the costuming section.

Left to Right: Lionel Logue (Geoffery Rush),
Myrtle Logue (Jennifer Ehle), and King George VI (Colin Firth)

Colin Firth was absolutely wonderful as Bertie! In an interview, he said that twice before this role, he acted as a character with a stammer, and that for each role it was different. I thought he did a very good job.

I would have liked to see more of Jennifer Ehle's character. My mom and I were saying that it would have been awesome to have her as Queen Elizabeth so that her and Colin Firth would have been married like in Pride and Prejudice (hehehe!). She was in there for a couple of scenes and did have some speaking parts. In fact, she and Colin Firth were in one scene together where they meet at the Logue's house. I had to smile because of the fact that they were in Pride and Prejudice together.

The Royal Family.
Left to Right: Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth,
King George VI, Princess Elizabeth (later to be Queen Elizabeth II),
and the Archbishop.
There wasn't much country scenery to speak of. There was a little, but most of the scenes took place in London. Indoor scenes took place in Bertie's home, in Buckingham Palace, in Lionel Logue's office or home, and one scene in a Scottish castle. The royal buildings were very nicely furnished and decorated. I didn't particually care for the walls in Lionel Logue's office; it was painted in odd, dark pastel colors. It just didn't look right to me.

Most of the scenes had a bluish tinge to them, probably to illustrate that it is more of a serious movie (thought there were some parts that were funny). Towards the end, there was more color in the scenes, but for most of the scenes in the movie, there was that bluish tinge.

While I am not used to reviewing modern costuming, I thought the costumes were very nice, indeed. I liked the fur trimmed coats that Queen Elizabeth wore; they were very classy. The men were dressed in suits, since they have to look nice as they are constantly watched by the press. Lionel Logue throughout most of the movie wore a pinstriped suit, while the royal/government men wore a classic black suit.

King George V (Michael Gambon) reading the Christmas
message over the radio.
As I mentioned before, the casting was well done to make each character look like their real life counterpart. From a portrait that I saw of Queen Elizabeth, they did a good job of making Helena Bonham Carter look like her. They also did a really good job at making Wallis Simpson look like the real Wallis Simpson; the way that they did her make-up and hair made her a dead ringer for her. After I saw the film, I looked up what King George V really looked like, and once I saw the pictures, I thought that he looked just like Michael Gambon did in the film. I thought that they did a really good job with casting and make-up.

The music is very nice! There are more serious pieces (since the film is more of a serious film), but the pieces are beautifully done. There is a lot of piano and string instruments used. There are a couple of pieces that are Beethoven, but the rest is, I believe, all original music.

The soundtrack is available on CD; you can listen to samples of the song at Amazon.

Overall: 4.5/5
Wow! This was a good movie! For the longest time, nothing in the theater's interested me too much. I found that most of the movies that Hollywood released were remakes of older TV shows (in which case, I prefer the original), very inappropriate movies, or movies that were too young for me. Finally, a movie that actually appealed to me! It was well acted, well scripted, and just simply well done!

Now, the concern might be among many, as it was for me for a while, is the R rating. I saw that and was like "What was in here that it got that?!" Then I saw that it was for language. I thought that I should comment on it. There are only two scenes throughout the whole movie where bad language was heavily used; both times, however, it was a part of a speech exercise. This may be a possible spoiler, but in the movie, Lionel Logue notices that Bertie doesn't stammer when he gets angry; so as an excersie to relieve stress, he tells Bertie to swear and to let it all out. End of Possible Spoiler. The F word is dropped quite a few times during that particular scene among some other words, but those words were not aimed towards anyone, rather it was a speech exercise to relieve stress. The second scene does drop the F word a couple of times, but again, it was to relieve stress. Other than the swearing, there wasn't really anything too bad in the film. There was some talk about a scandal, but nothing is shown and is only spoken of briefly.

The King's Speech is currently in theaters. It is a limited released movie, so you might need to check with your local theaters to see if it is playing there. It is rated R for language.

Below are compairson pictures/portaits of the real people and the characters from The King's Speech. What is your opinion? Did they do a good job with casting similar looking actors/actresses?


  1. That's funny that Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth were together again, and it would have been cool had they been married again! :) Thank you for the review!

  2. I can't wait to see this when it comes out on DVD.

    The comparison picture showing the real people vs their movie counterparts is really neat.

  3. I want to see this sooo bad when it comes out on has some of my favorite actors in it! Thanks so much for the review!!!

  4. Alexandra,
    You're welcome! It was a really good movie. I hope that it wins a lot of awards at the Golden Globes.

    I haven't heard about a release date for the DVD yet; I'll probably post something about it when I hear something.

  5. My Aunt was costume designer, and Oscar winner, Dorothy Jeakins. I am so proud of her hard work and how her costumes have endured...Sound of Music, The Way We Were, True Grit, Joan of Arc, Little Big Man, etc. I want to keep her memory alive.


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