Colin Firth plays King George VI, and the film takes place in the late 1930’s leading up to World War II. George is undergoing a lifelong personal struggle with a stutter. But since he has just been anointed King, which will require significant public speaking, he and his wife, played by Helena Bonham Carter, enlist the aid of a speech therapist, played by Geoffrey Rush.
This film has all the ingredients of an Oscar Best Picture winner: It’s a British period film, with go-to British period film stars Firth, Rush, and Carter. It deals with an extraordinary man dealing with an ordinary problem. It touches on World War II. And it won the audience award at Toronto in September and has received magnificent buzz ever since, and just received the most Golden Globe nominations. We might as well declare it the Best Picture winner, with Best Actor for Firth, and Best Supporting for Rush, and move on. It's pretty much a sure thing.
I saw the film when it premiered in Toronto in September but haven’t had the opportunity to revisit it yet. In my opinion, this is not one of the 10 best films of the year, but it certainly has its share of excellent, memorable moments. The best scenes are surely the ones where Rush is employing nontraditional methods to improve the quality of the King’s speech. They’re quite good. But some of the film tends to drag on. And Firth’s character is fairly unlikeable, so it’s hard to feel sympathy for his impediment. I'd like to see it a second time now that it's received such rave reviews but for now I'm only going to give it a …
Grade: B+ (But close to an A-)