DVD: The King's Speech (12)

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The Independent Culture

Tom Hooper's determinedly feelgood period piece doesn't delve too much into that ghastly Hitler business, and doesn't address the fact that Winston Churchill was allegedly rather fonder of the abdicating Edward, than his brother, Albert ("Bertie" to his nearest), Duke of York.

So, much like the Jon Bon Jovi actioner U-571, it's not really historically accurate, but it is most damnably the sort of beating-the- odds (and an affliction) tale that Hollywood swoons over. Colin Firth, who, unlike Hugh Grant, has been working very diligently over the past few years deserves much acclaim (if not an Oscar) for his stammering monarch, but it's Geoffrey Rush who provides the acting chops here, as the unconventional and provocative ("I don't care about how many royal arseholes have sat in this chair") Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue, who successfully prepares the king for the biggest speech of his life – one to embolden a nation for war with the Nazis.

The King's Speech is essentially an extremely good-looking TV drama held together by the strong, droll chemistry between Firth and Rush. Timothy Spall is frankly ludicrous as Churchill and Helena Bonham Carter wears a beatific smile throughout as Bertie's wife, Elizabeth (the future Queen Mother), but this is no time for royal bashing and you'd have to be a fearful rotter not to be stirred.