It swept the boards at the Oscars in 2011, bagging four of the little gold buggers, and watching it again today it is very easy to see why.
The King's Speech ticks all the boxes required for a multiple Oscar-winner. It's a true story which blends an imminent threat with a personal struggle/disability which needs to be overcome. It's set in the past, specifically England's past, which always appeals to the international market and America in particular. And of course, it was made by the Weinstein Company. It was frankly a cert and, if the Queen Mum were still alive, I'm sure she'd have been in touch with her bookmaker to put a bet on its success.
But there's more to The King's Speech than mere Oscar bait. The cast deliver both impeccable and interesting performances and Tom Hooper's direction is anything but the staid affair that so many period drama Oscar hopefuls usually are. It's a real shame that since this success, Hooper has failed to hit the same impressive beats he does here. These strengths combined mean that you don't really care that the film plays fast and loose with historical accuracy to say what it needs to say. Like the stammering King himself, you appreciate that it has a voice, and that it is using it.
In conclusion, I'll single out two scenes that really strike a chord with me; the first is quite obviously the actual speech itself at the close of the film which wonderfully, perfectly features Beethoven's Seventh Symphony as a pulsing, rhythmic accompaniment that suitably matches 'Bertie's' words, building in intensity to its sweeping glorious peak, before subsiding, and lasting exactly as long as the speech. The second is the heart to heart between both Royal and tutor in which the former confides in a commoner for the very first time, revealing a horrid incident from his childhood in the only way he can, through song. The moment when Firth briefly breaks into the tune of Swanee River to reveal his nanny would refuse to feed him as punishment is all the more heartbreaking for it.