The King’s Speech
Tom Hooper's drama of King George VI's efforts to overcome a crippling stammer with the help of a speech therapist shows Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush at their best.
Directed by Tom Hooper(R)
This handsomely crafted and “enjoyably amusing” drama seems poised to pick up Oscar nominations in bunches, said J. Hoberman in The Village Voice. Set in pre–World War II Britain, The King’s Speech stars Colin Firth as a real-life prince with a “crippling stammer” who turns for help to an “adorably déclassé” speech therapist played by Geoffrey Rush. As the commoner and the future King George VI bond over vocal exercises and engage in amateur psychotherapy, the film “finds its voice” in their engaging repartee. The pair’s unlikely friendship emerges as the movie’s “beating heart,” even though it supplies a completely unsurprising dramatic arc, said Christy Lemire in the Associated Press. But you forgive Tom Hooper’s formulaic direction because the movie is so “impeccably acted.” Firth and Rush are a “prizewinning combination,” said David Edelstein in New York. Firth evokes, “in midstammer, existential dread,” while Rush relishes in unseating royalty from its pedestal. Following David Seidler’s witty, poignant script, the actors turn the story into a “prickly comedy of manners.”