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Preview review: 'The King's Speech' makes an early statement

September 27, 2010 | 12:45 pm

THE-KINGS-SPEECH_400 We'll admit that when we first read the logline for "The King's Speech," we weren't exactly sold on the period drama starring Colin Firth. The movie, directed by Tom Hooper, is set in 1930s England and centers on a young King George VI (Firth) struggling to overcome a debilitating stuttering problem. On the surface, the story seems dry -- but the film has already been picking up some serious award buzz and took home the People's Choice award at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month.

After watching the newly released trailer for the film, we understand the hype a lot better. Although it's dealing with an embarrassing condition and is set against the backdrop of World War II, the movie seems to have something of a comedic tone.

Firth is already getting rave reviews for his portrayal of the endearing king, but we were especially taken with Geoffrey Rush, who plays the royal's speech therapist, Lionel Logue. As Lionel works with the king to prepare for an important nationwide speech that he must deliver right before the start of the war with Germany, the two seem to develop a witty rapport that evolves into a meaningful friendship.

“What I felt the film was really about was that he was saved by friendship,” the director told our colleague John Horn at the Telluride Film Festival this month. "Yes, it’s about a man with a stammer. But we all face blocks to becoming our better selves." It's that sentiment that could move an audience far broader than just the academy voting pool.

-- Amy Kaufman


Photo: Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter star in "The King's Speech." Credit: The Weinstein Co.


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“The King’s Speech” is bringing a new awareness to the complex disorder of stuttering.

King George VI greatly inspired our founder, Malcolm Fraser, who also struggled with stuttering in the war years and founded the Stuttering Foundation in 1947.

Readers should know how to get help for this distressing disorder. The Stuttering Foundation provides information on the latest research, a worldwide resource list of speech pathologists who specialize in stuttering, and DVDs and books compiled by the leading authorities in the field.

For more information, offered free of charge,readers may visit www.stutteringhelp.org.


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