The King’s Speech has an awful lot to live up to as it makes its home entertainment debut. Not only did it win a clutch of awards, including four Oscars, but it’s been proclaimed as the saviour of modern British cinema by commentators from every corner of the industry. It’s rare for a film to satisfy that amount of hype, and often those who have waited to catch a must-see movie in the comfort of their own home are left wondering what all the fuss is about. Not so here; this film is a genuine delight.
And those Oscar nominations were well deserved, for this is one of those rare occasions in which every element of the filmmaking works in harmony, and each is equally as important to the success of the whole. Front and centre are the performances, most notably from Colin Firth in his Academy Award winning turn as King George VI and fellow Academy nominee Geoffrey Rush as speech therapist Lionel Logue, the man charged with curing the reluctant monarch of his childhood stutter. The two command their roles, but never overshadow each other nor the narrative; their dynamic is believable, humorous and touching. And around them orbit an eclectic cast, including Helena Bonham-Carter as George’s wife Elizabeth (aka the Queen Mother) and Guy Pearce as George’s emotionally tormented brother Edward; all cogs of this well-oiled machine.
And joint captains of this ship are writer David Seidler and director Tom Hooper; the former’s exceptionally well-crafted screenplay capturing the essence of these characters and their compelling real-life story, and the latter’s assured direction giving both a chance to breathe. A perfect example of this is the climactic sequence of King George’s reign-defining radio broadcast to a nation on the verge of war; small in scale but mighty in its celebration of the triumphant strength of human endeavour and accomplishment, it is – like the film as a whole – perfectly conceived, perfectly staged and perfectly executed.
DVD Release Date: May 9, 2011
This review was written for the DVD release