The best picture winner of the 83rd academy awards, the King’s Speech, covers the real life events of Prince Albert’s ascent to the throne of the United Kingdom. However the prince faces a speech impediment which undermines his confidence and authority over his people. As a result in order for the prince to communicate effectively, Elizabeth (his wife played by Helena Carter) hires a speech therapist with unorthodox techniques, played by captain Barbosa himself, Geoffrey Rush.
It is unsurprising to me that this film won the best picture award given that it contains all the stereotypical tropes in order to be nominated in the first place; a british cast, a famous historical setting and lots and lots of drama. However upon viewing this film, I noticed a few flaws that may have been overlooked by the Academy. This is not to say that this movie does not deserve the best picture award; a completely different discussion altogether. The King’s Speech is well acted and directed as a whole. It features prominent historical figures such as King George IV and Winston Churchill. I could also almost sniff a fragrance of royalty while watching this movie. The dialects and set pieces were on point to accurately recreate the aura of pre WW2 Britain. However I feel that the movie was tackling too many story lines.
On one hand, this film asserts itself to tackle the speech impediment of Prince Albert and the means which he uses to overcome this difficulty. However about halfway through the movie, the focus of the film shifts towards a political drama, namely the barriers and circumstances that prevent Prince Albert from rising to the throne. Towards the end, the film hints towards becoming a war film as it lingers on about Britain’s strategy towards defending itself and fighting Germany. Many of the relationships we see in the movie were also not fleshed out very well. Arguably the most important relationship in the movie was between the prince and Elizabeth. I can only point to a few scenes where I saw both these characters in the same frame, which is unfortunate as the movie made it clear that Elizabeth was the one who actively sought out treatment for her husband, making her a central figure in the movie.
Upon further research into the historical events that this film touches on, I noticed how historically inaccurate the King’s Speech actually is. The writers of this film overvalued the authority and importance that Prince Albert brought to the throne during the war, as his significance was little compared to Churchill who really helped the country prepare for war against Germany. The film also conveniently ignores important historical details. For example prince Albert’s older brother, who rose to the throne before himself before giving it up to Albert (covered extensively in the movie), was a known supporter of Hitler but the film does not mention it here. The film also ignores the fact that Prince Albert was not Churchill’s supporter and thought his politics of clearly opposing Hitler were incorrect.
Overall, I would put the Kings Speech in my overrated movies basket. Despite being generally well acted and well directed, the film fails to provide a cohesive and consistant storyline whilst conveniently leaving out important historical details.