This film is notable for a number of reasons. Some of them are wholly predictable, other less so. So, let's start with the things one might expect. First, the quality of the cast is beyond reproach. Colin Firth is quite startlingly good as the shy, diffident and afflicted future King. Rush is avuncular and authoritative, while the supporting cast are pitch perfect. The delectable Helena Bonham-Carter puts more flesh on the young Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, and future Queen Mother, than even this high quality script might have allowed, while the brief appearance of Michael Gambon is a nice study in both Saturnine severity and pitiful confusion as George V nears his end. For me, however, the cream of the supporting cast is Guy Pearce's portrayal of the Duke of Windsor. David is shown as essentially complacent and, beneath it all, weaker than his poor, derided brother. Pearce nails the clipped frustration and the arrogant languor perfectly.
So far, so good. Where this film scores even better, however, is in the rather more playfully unpredictable script and the way the performers inhabit it. At first sight, this may appear to be nothing more than a rather dry period piece, but what stands out when you watch it is just how FUNNY it is. Yes, you heard right: funny. When I first saw this at the cinema I laughed out loud more loudly and more often than I have at many comedy films. The whole thing careers along at a lively pace, held together with this quick-witted and coruscating wit. Possibly my favourite moment of the whole film comes when Lionel Logue's wife arrives home early from playing bridge to find some rather unexpected visitors to her home. It's a beautiful little pen painting of the awkwardness of the class system of the time, and beautifully judged by all. But of course, all this wouldn't work as a comedy alone, which makes the quality of the dramatic playing all the more satisfying. Since receiving the DVD, I've watched it several times more and have not tired of the standard of the work and the little gems that each view manages to reveal
There are no real low points; this is a film that does something very rare: it manages to combine a host of already exemplary components into a pretty near perfect whole. There are no major faults at all, and very few minor ones that I can remember. It is, quite clearly, a film of a very high standards, and richly deserves the plaudits it has received.