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Rated R · 111 min. · 2010

The King’s Speech takes a seemingly blah subject — a royal highness’ speech impediment — and turns it into one of the best-acted movies of the year. The future King George VI of England (an excellent Colin Firth) stumbles and stammers whenever he’s asked to speak in public. His loyal, persistent, and tough wife (Helena Bonham Carter, also excellent) finds Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush, terrific too), a speech therapist who guarantees he can cure George’s stammer. They spar furiously at their first meeting. But you just know their relationship will turn all warm and fuzzy on the way to George’s recovery. The screenplay contains more humor than most period pieces, but it’s Firth who carries the film. He brings vulnerability to both his acting and his character, as he slowly overcomes his stammer to get to the climatic moment of the movie’s title. (In a nutshell, George’s brother relinquishes the crown to his younger sibling, who must address his country regarding its declaration of war on Germany.) It’s a performance of royal highness. And it’s a performance that makes a royal subject very real.
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Director: Tom Hooper
Writer: David Seidler
Cast: Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, Timothy Spall, Michael Gambon, Geoffrey Rush, Jennifer Ehle, Derek Jacobi, Max Callum and James Currie

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