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king's speech
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The King's Speech

Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, Jennifer Ehle, Derek Jacobi, Michael Gambon, Timothy Spall, Anthony Andrews
Screenplay by David Seidler
Based on the story of King George VI
Directed by Tom Hooper

IN SHORT: nnn. [Rated . minutes]

Before we even saw The King's Speech, other down-in-the-trenches critics like us were talking about the film as being one of the best of the year. It is, without doubts, a very well made and performed film. But for reasons we're sure you'll divine by the time we finish describing the nuts and bolts, it isn't a film that will dominate American box offices. [But it should still garner a couple of award nominations as a jolly well done kind of nod . . .]

Bertie Johnston (Colin Firth) has a terrible stammer. His family and his wife (Helena Bonham Carter) know all about it but he has managed to stay out of the public eye for most of his life. Then Bertie's father (Michael Gambon) dies and his elder brother (Guy Pearce) abandons the family business to sleep with a slutty foreigner, leaving it to Bertie to run. Running the company means being making public appearances and speeches and, well, Bertie's stammer is really, really, really bad. Bad enough that the entire company could fall to ruin. So it falls to a speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush), found in the phone book, to help correct the stammer and save the world . . .

Wait ... Save the World? What has Cranky left out of this story?

Maybe that the setting is post World War One

Maybe that Bertie's "company" used to, pretty much, run most of the Western World.

Maybe that the slutty foreigner is the historically famous "Woman I Love" . . . the sound bit made infamous by time and history. The only part of the famous royal abdication at the center of this story that any American may recall. (and Cranky was born decades after the events in this movie, so no side comments, please.)

OK, have you figured out which King the film's title is talking about now? Historically, Americans should at least be able to nail it as "the King during World War II . . . Queen Elizabeth's dad." That's simple, modern history of the kind that used to covered by high school. "Bertie" in this case is Albert (the principle part of a really long run of proper names that Brit royalty are saddled with); dad is King George V and the horny couple in question are Prince Edward and Mrs. Wallis Simpson (Eve Best). If nothing else, we came out of our viewing of The King's Speech knowing more about the house-breakin' Mrs. Simpson than we ever learned in school.

and the frustrations that accompany his stammer have brought more humiliation to his life than he would like to endure. So his wife looked in the Brit equivalent of the yellow pages . . .

There's something awkwardly funny about that last sentence , even as the need for a profession such as speech "therapist" is subtly detailed in the script. There is much that is subtle about David Seidler's screenplay, which leaves more room for the principle characters to play in.


]When all is said and done, The King's Speech should be a monster hit (emphasis should) in the UK. As the various human components of the cast and crew do the end of year dosie-do with the various critics and academies for individual shots at the golden podium we can say this. The King's Speech should deliver a lot of possibilities to the actors and principal crew and it should darn well sweep the British equivalent of Oscar . . .

anyone sense a "b" word coming . . .

But we're American. Sorry to the filmmakers, the emotional components that we individually bring into the theater (or living room) screening The King's Speech will not add the emotional oomph that would drive the film over the top. That being written,

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The King's Speech, he would have paid . . .


We grade more severely at Oscar time. The King's Speech will do well come the end of year lists, you can count on that.

King George V (Michael Gambon), King Edward VIII (Guy Pearce) Bertie Johnson aka King George VI (Colin Firth) wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) speech therapist, Winston Churchill (Timothy Spall)

]Once Upon A Time Bertie Johnstone (Colin Firth) went to see a speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush) at the behest of his loving wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter)

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The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.