The film follows the Queen’s father the Duke of York (Colin Firth) as he struggles with his public role due to his stutter. He goes to a speech therapist who uses unconventional methods to help him – just as well, as his brother the Prince of Wales is taking up with Mrs Wallis-Simpson and as a result, the Duke’s role in public life increases until his brother is forced to abdicate and he becomes king.
Colin Firth is superb. It must be incredibly difficult for a non-stutterer to fake it, but he was completely convincing. Firth is ably supported by Geoffrey Rush as speech therapist Lionel Logue and Helena Bonham-Carter as his wife, who became the Queen Mother. It’s actually a little bit odd to see Bonham-Carter playing a sane character – usually the parts she plays are eccentric at best. She pulls it off with aplomb, though, having just the right amount of gravitas.
One thing that surprised me is that the film is actually quite funny in parts. There are several dry one-liners which made me laugh out loud and a scene where Logue has the Duke shouting every swear word he knows (because he doesn’t stutter when he swears) had the whole audience in stitches.
The film ends with war declared and the new king facing his greatest challenge yet – his first wartime speech, not just to the nation but to the whole empire.
As good as everyone says it is.