SPOILER ALERT IF YOU DO NOT KNOW YOUR HISTORY
A few months ago I was preparing to write here about King Edward VIII's abdication of the throne to marry the twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson. That moment in history becomes the backstory of this fascinating account of a man who must slay his own inner dragons in order to assume the role of England's king. Like a fairy tale, he is on a quest that requires courage. He is supported by his fair maiden and assisted by a faithful "servant" who proves to be a loyal friend.
The double meaning of the title is intriguing since the focal point of the film's climax is literally about a speech the new king must give. But the real story is the Duke of York's speech impediment. He is a stutterer, a grave handicap for one who is to be a world leader.
Here are excerpts from several reviews at imdb.com which were helpful.
This is a biopic about how King George VI, the father of Queen Elizabeth II, overcame his stuttering problem. Widely considered by all but his father unfit to be king, George is reluctantly thrust unto the throne and into the spotlight after his brother is forced to abdicate. Overshadowed on the global stage by powerful orators like Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini, the King relies on the help of a little-known Australian speech therapist named Lionel Logue to find his voice and courageously lead his people into the most devastating war humanity has ever faced.
Given the outstanding cast and director, and my fascination with historical figures, I had high hopes for this film, though mixed with a certain resignation that I might be disappointed. There was no way I could have imagined how wonderful "The King's Speech" would be. There was abundant humor without the film ever becoming a comedy, drama without dreariness, and many deeply moving moments. I can't praise this film enough. It boosted my appreciation of the human capacity to become our best selves, and rise to meet even the most daunting challenges.
It is a very touching, and quite inspiring story about a man, psychologically scarred, and trapped in a situation from which he could have no escape and facing it with immense courage. It so happens that he was royal, and that was a large part of his problem -- but the film isn't so much about royalty as a human story.
The acting is flawless and superb. And the sets are luscious, especially the room where Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) meets with "Bertie", the Duke of York (Colin Firth), for therapy sessions. Every time we returned to that wall of inebriating color I was comforted.
The climax of the film leans on Beethoven’s Second Movement of his Seventh Symphony, perhaps one of the most heart-wrenching nine minutes ever scored, and it does the job well of conveying the inward anguish and achievement.