A biopic set in pre-WWII England. A pedigreed cast. Rich, regal sets. And, it's about the royals, who, thanks to Wills and Kate Middleton, are hotter than ever. Even if it were a snoozer, this flick would have Oscar written all over it.
But, a movie about an accidental king with a life-long stutter turns out to be anything but dull. It's absolutely engrossing. And, so dear.
Here's the setting: King George V (Michael Gambon) is in declining health. His eldest son and heir to the throne (Guy Pearce) has embarked on an ill-advised love affair with a twice-divorced American. His second son, known as "Bertie" (Colin Firth) may well be called on to lead the kingdom, but Bertie has never been prepared for the duty. Even the nanny regarded him with little respect when he and his brothers were young.
As England will eventually be pulled into war with Germany, the kingdom needs a skilled orator to reassure an anxious public. A reluctant Bertie is hardly suited to the challenge.
But, he has a sweetheart of a wife (Helena Bonham Carter) who is willing to try an unorthodox therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), since all the other approved doctors and methods have failed.
Logue's approach is so unorthodox, in fact, that he insists on Bertie treated him as an equal. This doesn't set well with a monarch -- even a reluctant one. But, after initial reservations, Bertie is willing to go along with the treatment because it is, surprisingly, effective.
What happens next could be called a royal bromance, as the king and his speech therapist spar, needle each other, share childhood hurts and grow genuinely fond of each other. Firth will surely be nominated for an Oscar and is likely to give a big speech of his own at the ceremony in 2011. He'll deserve to. See it!