Guest / Limited Access /
The King's Speech
Our Rating
4 Stars - Excellent
Average Rating
(12 user ratings)ADD YOURSHelp
Mpaa Rating
R (for language)
Directed By
Tom Hooper
Run Time
1 hour 58 minutes
Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Derek Jacobi, Robert Portal
Theatre Release
December 25, 2010 by The Weinstein Company

As a member of the royal family, George VI was not born great. As a prince who desperately shunned the limelight and inherited the throne when his brother abdicated to marry a divorced woman, he most certainly had greatness thrust upon him. It was in accepting the position he dreaded and, particularly, in preparing for the possibility that became an eventuality, that he achieved greatness.

The King's Speech won the Cadillac People's Choice Award at this year's Toronto International Film Festival (previous winners include Bella and Slumdog Millionaire), and like similar films with populist appeal, it both embraces its feel-good intentions and wears them on its sleeve. If it avoids the critical backlash that plagues some films that actively try to be inspirational, that may be because it doesn't overreach and because it executes its model to near perfection.

The basic structure of this sort of inspirational drama should be familiar to most viewers. Early scenes introduce a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. In this case the film opens with a humiliating failure in George's attempt to give a speech at a soccer match. In the first half of a film, those obstacles will be compounded. We see how misguided professional treatments render the problem worse rather than better and how the domestic conditions—that speech therapist Lionel Logue will suggest are connected to George's stammer—render it nearly impossible to ask for help. Such a film may then show—as this one does—early, failed attempts to address the obstacles to reinforce the bravery and persistence of the protagonist. Finally, there is a climactic test of resolve: a big game, a key confrontation, a second chance at a failed accomplishment.

Where The ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Browse All Movie Reviews By:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueWilson's Bookmarks
Subscriber Access Only Wilson's Bookmarks
From John Wilson, editor of Books & Culture.
Current IssueReading the Reformation in 2017
Reading the Reformation in 2017
Historians are still finding new things to say about Martin Luther and his movement.
RecommendedScorsese’s ‘Silence’ Asks What It Really Costs to Follow Jesus
Scorsese’s ‘Silence’ Asks What It Really Costs to Follow Jesus
Martin Scorsese adapts Shusaku Endo’s acclaimed novel about faith, mission, and suffering.
TrendingThe Story Behind Trump’s Controversial Prayer Partner
The Story Behind Trump’s Controversial Prayer Partner
What Paula White’s Washington moment implies for the prosperity gospel’s future.
Editor's PickThe Church’s Integrity in the Trump Years
The Church’s Integrity in the Trump Years
It begins by recognizing the name above every name.
Christianity Today
The King's Speech
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

November 2010

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.