The drama that surrounds a monarchic dynasty knows no limits, particularly in the case of King George VI, as well as his elder brother, King Edward VIII, who abdicated the throne to marry American divorcée Wallis Simpson. Like so many descendants of the throne, King George VI (formerly Albert Frederick Arthur George, which rolls right off the tongue) suffered a psychosomatic defect. Much to the dismay of his father, King George V, King George VI spoke with an often times debilitating stammer, a fact that was initially put on display for the English people in October of 1925 at the British Empire Exhibition. It is with this event that director Tom Hooper commences the film, The King's Speech, based on King George's arduous assent into the role of His Majesty.
As is often the way, George is content to ignore the problem rather than deal with it. Besides, he figures that there is no danger of him ever having to become king and go through the torture of public speaking so long as his brother, Edward, is around to assume that responsibility once their father is dead. Nonetheless, his doting wife, Elizabeth (played by Helena Bonham Carter, who has shown her dedication to the craft of acting by taking on some dirty old slag-like roles lately, including Harry Potter, that have accomplished the task of diminishing her underlying beauty), refuses to give up on seeking out help to improve--or at least mildly conceal--George's speech impediment.
Enter Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush, who is capable of bringing a comedic tinge to any movie he is in), a man whose business plaque reads demurely, "Speech Defects," when Elizabeth arrives to assess his utility to her husband. Unlike most, Logue is not as eager as others to kowtow (why the fuck it isn't spelled like "cowtow," I don't know) to the demands of the Duke and Duchess of York. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that he's Australian.
What differentiates Logue from others is his ability to connect the physical manifestation of a stammer with its psychological implications. In the instance of King George, the potential for mental probing proves rather exhaustive. For one, his older brother outshines him in virtually everything: Looks, poise, charm--to name a few. But, as time wears on, it becomes clearer that Edward's character, his sense of duty to the throne, is marginal at best (a certitude that will undoubtedly be explored in Madonna's upcoming film, W.E, based on the affair of Wallis and Edward, hence the abbreviation in the title). Logue is the person who makes George discover his latent talent for ruling over a nation of people.
Much like other recent films of a similar genre, such as The Queen and The Young Victoria, The King's Speech isn't markedly astounding to those who know the story of King George already (read: English people), however, when it becomes available to purchase (I try to shy away from using the terms DVD or Blu-ray since I know both will ultimately turn antiquated), it will be a definite improvement to some of the wretched films teachers usually show in history class.