Set in England just before World War II, The King’s Speech focuses on Prince Albert, the Duke of York (Firth) and the second son of the King of England, who has been suffering from a devastating stutter ever since he was a child. In an attempt to help him, his wife Elizabeth (Bonham Carter) hires an Australian speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Rush).

At first, Albert is mostly frustrated by Lionel’s eccentric teaching methods. When his father, the King of England suddenly passes away and his brother, Edward VIII abdicates to marry an American divorcee; Albert is forced to take the throne as the new king. Humiliated by his speech impediment and aware that he must make a speech to the people of England, he turns to Lionel for help.

Albert’s speech problem is a matter that anyone can relate to, which is the beauty of the plot of the King’s Speech: audiences instantly feel sympathy for Albert and share his pain and struggles. When audiences have a special connection with the story and characters, this film’s already a winner.

The highlight of this brilliant film is its cast; a line-up of the finest British actors that can be considered a direct threat to Hollywood actors. The film is based on real-life events during World War II; providing an intimate insight into the family of Queen Elizabeth III – Albert is her father; and the queen is featured in the film as a child. The film also cleverly and respectfully presents a historical event, while interspersing it with dry British humour for added entertainment.

The King’s Speech is full of wonderful performances, including Bonham Carter, who is understated yet powerful as Queen Elizabeth, and brief appearances by stellar British actors, such as Guy Pierce as Colin’s brother.

Firth and Rush’s chemistry is beyond charming and funny; Firth often seems to struggle between wanting to hang Rush and accepting his teaching methods. Yet the subtlety of the nuances in their dialogues and arguments shows a relationship between two men from drastically different backgrounds trying to cope with each other to reach an important goal. The witty banter between the leads reminds us of legendary actors Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in The Odd Couple. Surely, that doesn’t mean that the film is aimed to be a humorous one; but when it was meant to be so, the script and the acting made it work perfectly.

Between close-ups of his stuttering mouth and wide angles of the awaiting crowds, the exquisite cinematography helps create intimacy and intensify Albert's emotions. Beautiful scenery, including the elaborate interiors of Buckingham Palace, further emphasize the sense that we are granted a rare, intimate glimpse into England’s enigmatic royal family in such a pivotal time.

The King’s Speech is an outstanding film, with some of the most exceptional performances of the year. It is a worthy recommendation for anyone who appreciates fine acting and storytelling.