“The King’s Speech” is a brave portrayal of a thoroughly British subject, but it’s the universality of the film’s moving story and its impeccable production that secured it nominations for twelve Oscars. Colin Firth is the stuttering King George VI, whose wife (Helena Bonham Carter) eventually convinces him to see Lionel Logue, a maverick speech therapist (played by a superb Geoffrey Rush). The script combines often-unexpected humor with a heart-warming story, but there is no schmaltz here. Firth presents the monarch as a witty but frustrated man who struggles with an affliction that many suffer from, including David Seidler, the film’s scriptwriter. Writer Christopher Hitchens has accused Seidler of falsifying history in the film’s sympathetic take on Winston Churchill, but whatever inaccuracies there may be, the approaching World War II lends the monarch’s determination to lead his country a clear poignancy.
Opens Feb. 26