Director: TOM HOOPER

118 minutes| U.K.-Australia| 2010| Colour| D-Cinema

Colin Firth’s transformation from sturdy romantic foil to leading dramatic actor continues with this splendid telling of a hitherto little-known true story. Crisis looms for the British royal family in the 1930s: illness has ravaged King George V (Michael Gambon), eldest son Edward (Guy Pearce) is more enamoured of his American divorcee than the throne, and as Hitler’s power grows, attention turns to Firth’s ‘Bertie’ – the nervy, stuttering younger sibling who clearly isn’t monarch material. As the nation’s hour of need approaches, enter Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), failed Aussie thespian turned Harley Street speech therapist. What follows is surprisingly touching, as the irreverent commoner helps the blue-blood cope with the crushing weight of duty. It’s all laced with wry wit however, with Firth and Rush’s delicious attempts at upstaging each other offset by Helena Bonham Carter’s knowing Queen Elizabeth. Hugely entertaining indeed, and the scene where the future King George VI hones his enunciation by practising swear words is an instant classic. (Notes by Trevor Johnston).

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