*note: Albert doesn’t become “King George” until part way through the film but for sake of this article I use the name regardless of timeline
Historical semi-documentary?? That description is enough to send most people running for the hills but if they chose to stay away from this film they would be making a very large mistake. Set in the mid 1930’s this is the story of King George VI (played by Colin Firth) and his rise to power before England’s involvement in WW II. But what makes the story such a fascinating one is that it centers around King George’s struggle with speech and his nagging stammer that cripples him every time he steps in front of an audience.
After several failed attempts with top-notch therapists, his wife calls on a therapist named Lionel Logue (played by Geoffery Rush). Logue is non-traditionalist in his approach and methods which makes for a strained relationship between a man who it s commoner (Logue) and a man who is royalty. Logue’s exercises and routine seem beneath King George, including probing into King George’s personal life and Logue’s insistence on calling him by his real name Albert or “Bertie”. But as the amount of public speaking engagements increase he begins to realize that he needs to give in to Logue’s methods and the story and friendship that unfolds between the King and Lionel as he overcomes his stammer, is really the core strength of this picture.
You truly feel bad for the King when he struggles to make it through one sentence but feel triumphant when he shows progress. You become involved with each character as they evolve and you notice little subtleties such as the way he treats his children (a complete opposite of his relationship with his parents) even after he has become King. Geoffery Rush and Colin Firth gave the two best performances that I have seen this year and Colin even topped his performance in “A Single Man”. The direction and cinematography were also noticeably great as you get the true feeling of a period piece and I could very easily see this movie walking away with several awards.