The story is probably well-known, based as it is on history. It begins when George VI (known to his family as 'Bertie), who is brilliantly portrayed by Colin Firth, attempts to make a speech on the newly-popular 'wireless'. He has a bad stammer, made worse when he is nervous, and the speech is a disaster.
Bertie has a supportive wife - the future Queen Elizabeth whom I knew of only as the Queen Mother - also very well cast as Helen Bonham Carter. She is determined that somehow her husband's stammer must be curable, although he has been to many speech therapists already, and tried both orthodox and unorthodox methods. Finally she comes across Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) who says that, yes, he can cure her husband but only on his own terms...
The film is set firmly in historical context, with snippets of actual speeches made by royalty and also by Hitler in the period preceding the Second World War. While, undoubtedly, many liberties were taken with reality, the underlying story gives a very moving tale of a shy man who suffered from a strict father and bullying brother, forced into situations he hated. Bertie suffers from explosive anger at times, and it's clear that the stammer is psychological in origin; it becomes markedly worse under times of stress.
I was absolutely gripped by this film, from beginning to end. There's humour here and there, there's pathos, there's a depth of understanding of the loneliness that can come with positions of authority. The royal family come across as real, believable people who are who they are by an accident of birth, often deeply distressed by the responsibilities they must carry.
Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews