When compared with the Social Network, the King’s Speech is a more traditional film. However, it not just traditional—it is traditional done very well. The King’s Speech is in essence a biopic which focuses on the struggle of the protagonist, King George VI (portrayed here by Colin Firth) to overcome his speech impediment with the help of his speech therapist, played by Geoffrey Rush. The character of Lionel, the speech therapist, is reminiscent of other similar inspirational- teacher figures in movies like the Dead Poets’ Society and Freedom Writers.
Though traditional in style and substance, this film stands out due to the incredible performances of its lead actors. Both Rush and Firth are up for Oscar nods, along with Helena Bonham Carter, who played the king’s wife. Firth’s performance might have been a little over the top at times, but while watching him, one cannot help but feel the torment and anxiety his character is experiencing. Rush is great fun to watch in every scene he is in—his character seems to genuinely enjoy the work he does, and that enthusiasm is truly infectious. Animated and lively, he acts as the perfect counterpart to the shy and awkward King George. Also of note is Guy Pearce, who plays George’s brother. Though not featured as prominently in the film as the three leads, he does a good job at portraying a surprisingly well-developed and complex supporting character. I can’t say for sure how accurate or inaccurate this film is, historically speaking, since I know basically next to nothing about modern British history. I can’t judge this film as a historical piece. As a drama and a biopic, though, it does mostly everything right. It has a rousing, inspiring, emotional climax, a sympathetic protagonist, and enough twists to keep everything fresh and interesting.