As if we hadn't seen enough movies recently, Brooke and I were in a theater again on New Year's Eve! But it was worth it: The King's Speech might be the favorite of all the serious awards contenders we've seen so far. Until now, we (or I at least) felt that The Social Network was a sure thing. But this story, about how "Bertie", the Duke of York (and later King George VI), worked to overcome a severe speech impediment is a real triumph of a film.
Colin Firth gives the performance of the year as the man whose job requires powerful, eloquent speech but who often cannot manage to utter a coherent sentence. The film may not stick strictly to the historical facts, but who are we to care? Whatever fiction is presented here is very entertaining, and provides a very inspiring and uplifting tale. After many failed attempts with speech therapists and much prodding from his wife (Helena Bonham Carter), who is today referred to as the Queen Mother, the Duke eventually visits and at long last befriends a "therapist" who doesn't even hold a degree (Geoffrey Rush, outstanding!) whose means are unorthodox--particularly when dealing with royalty.
The Great Depression and series of events that led to World War II provide a grave backdrop that balances the movie's very frequent humorous lines and scenarios with a sense of doom and importance. And the preposterous existence of a royal family in the modern world, often subtly or not-so-subtly mocked in this type of film, is not criticized so far as we could tell. The King's Speech is just a simple yet very emotionally gripping story told as well as it possibly could be. A handful of really great films are out there right now; if someone asked us to recommend just one of them, this would probably be the one.