The King's Speech (2010)
Screenplay by: David Seidler
Directed by: Tom Hooper
Starring: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Gambon, Guy Pearce, Jennifer Ehle, Timothy Spall, and Derek Jacobi
Synopsis: This is the story of King George VI, a.k.a. "Bertie" (Firth), who assumed the throne following the sudden abdication of his brother Edward VIII. Suffering from a debilitating stammer, he seeks the aid of Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue (Rush), who helps the war-time King find his voice.
Best. Movie. Of. The. Year. It was dramatic and funny and heartwarming and well-acted and beautifully directed and...I could go on forever. I'm pretty sure my eyes filled with tears three times even though the movie isn't even sad; now that's saying something.
Colin Firth deserves the Oscar this year. Of course, I thought he deserved it last year for his heartbreaking performance in A Single Man, but I admit to not having seen Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart, so I can't be 100% sure. I am certainly rooting for Firth, Rush, and Bonham Carter to win their respective categories at the Golden Globes on January 16 (Don't let me down, Hollywood Foreign Press Association!).
I've enjoyed watching Geoffrey Rush on screen since I first saw him as Walsingham in Elizabeth years ago. He is consistently wonderful in every role, but I found him particularly good as Lionel Logue. He lends a great deal of wry humor to the role. It was refreshing to see Helena Bonham Carter, who seems rather eccentric in real life (in a very likable way) and who also tends to play eccentric characters, step into the role of doting royal wife Elizabeth. Elizabeth is Bertie's greatest cheerleader, sure that he can defeat his burdensome speech impediment, and her first encounter with Logue is one of the funniest scenes in the movie.
The costume and set design were fantastic. Everything looked and felt authentic, as if the viewer had stepped into the middle of London in the 1930s and '40s. The costume designer is the very talented Jenny Beavan, who also did the costuming for Sherlock Holmes and Sense & Sensibility, and won an Oscar for her work on A Room with a View.
Director Tom Hooper -- known for the TV miniseries John Adams and 2009's The Damned United -- did a great job with this film. It's hard to explain without actually seeing it, but some of the camera angles he used were really unusual. His shots were unique, and I especially liked the placement of the microphone in the scene where Logue asks Bertie to read Hamlet's third soliloquy. In fact, I thought Hooper's deliberate use of microphones as a focal point in certain pivotal scenes was a great decision.