First and Advanced: A Movie Review

Also published on our Facebook page, here's our review of The King's Speech. Written roughly to CAE length and more or less to exam principles for FCE and CAE candidates to take advantage of.

A Royal Announcement: This is a must-see movie.

 More people are frightened of speaking in public than dying. That’s the statistic I heard on the radio last week. How would you feel if, that was you, but you lived with a stammer. But you had to speak not only in public, but to a whole nation, who were relying on you to do it? That’s the dramatic finale of The King’s Speech after an unwilling Prince Albert of England has had no choice but to become King George VI after his elder brother abdicates to marry.

Although the film is about overcoming fear and, to an extent, disability, it works on many other levels too. It’s about the formation of friendship between two very different men (the King and his speech therapist) despite - but in some ways because of – their different social status. It explores this difference too – how what we perceive as status and privilige leaves the future King lonely and isolated and needing a friend he can’t ask for, while the screenplay cleverly uses the two mens’ children and wives to demonstrate their underlying similarities.

Carrying this complex range of themes are the lead actors. Colin Firth gives a fantastic – and often very funny – performance, commanding total attention. Geoffrey Rush, as his therapist, seems to have a lesser role, but his performance is just as carefully judged as he is there as contrast. His character is mostly quietly self-assured, compared to Firth’s edgy, nervous, high-tension characterization.

The film comes to an emotional and dramatic conclusion as the King is called on to make the most important speech of his life as World War 2 breaks out, and his therapist is there to lead him through it like a conductor with an orchestra.
Complete with an excellent supporting cast, subtle special effects recreating wartime London and a musical score that enhances scenes with just the right tone, you really should see this film.

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