The King’s Speech
Having grown up with a strict father (Michael Gambon) and a prominent older brother (Guy Pearce), an otherwise capable and courtly fellow (Colin Firth) finds himself with a paralyzing stutter. Unfortunately for him, he’s the duke of York, just when the proliferation of radio has compounded the already unpleasant duty of public speaking. Fortunately for him, his enterprising wife (Helena Bonham Carter) seeks help from an unconventional speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush), who happens also to be, proudly, a commoner. Then, to everyone’s surprise, the stutterer inherits the throne. When his nation goes to war, the duty of public speaking is further compounded. True story. Call it a glossy inspirational inversion of Pygmalion, or a sports flick for those who prefer royals to athletes, but there’s no denying the universal appeal of director Tom Hooper’s tastefully wrapped package. David Seidler’s solidly built script shows the consideration of humility and civility that we always say the movies lack, and the ennobling performances by Firth and Rush are as great and full as they’ve ever been.