Elizabeth (Helen Bonham Carter) is the one who finds Lionel Logue and plans to hire him to correct her husband’s speech. But first the men must meet, connect, and agree to terms for the therapy. Logue has unorthodox methods and is not vetted by the king or his men first, so when Lionel’s lack of credentials is discovered it threatens to end their work together before it begins. Logue must earn the trust of Bertie and then King George VI more than once as the men’s egos spar.
When the dust settles and the two are reconciled, they must work fast to prepare the king for his first official speech; they have only hours to work. Logue works out a strategy whereby he is in the space where the king will speak. He guides the king through this terrain like a conductor with his orchestra. There is much comedic relief found in Hooper’s film because Logue employs every trick in the book to keep the king focused so that he avoids the signature stammer in his voice. Oddly enough Bertie can curse, sing, and swear without missing a beat. So, the men combine these tricks with hilarious effect.
You don’t have to be an anglophile to love this film or to recognize that it will be remembered and honored by its peers in the New Year. The cast is stellar and it delivers theatrical performances worthy of Shakespeare. Don’t miss what will surely be best picture of 2010.
Directed by Tom Hooper; produced by Iain Canning; with Emile Sherman, Gareth Unwin, and Geoffrey Rush. Written by David Seidler. Run time: 111 minutes.