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The King's Speech

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
The King's Speech Movie Poster Image
Superb drama about overcoming fears is fine for teens.
  • R
  • 2010
  • 111 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 62 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 109 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The film has a stirring message: Our biggest limitations are the voices in our head that remind us of all of our imperfections and failures. But they're only voices, and our will and perseverance are stronger than our fears. Communication, integrity, and humility are major themes. The film has some classist overtones, but they’re placed within historical context.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The three main characters serve as strong role models: Lionel Logue, though somewhat untraditional in his approach to speech therapy (at least for the movie's time period), believes in himself so much that he's able to help others do so, too. The queen is a lesson in being supportive without condescension, and King George VI is a man not to be denied his life because of his past.

Violence

A character struggles with his temper, which is fueled by frustration.

Sex

A king abdicates from the throne because of his involvement with a divorcee. There are references to her "talents" behind closed doors.

Language

Strong language includes "bastard," "bloody," "tits," "damn," "ass," "hell," and "bugger." And in one memorable scene, a man yells out a stream of words like "s--t" and "f--k."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some social drinking (sherry, whisky, wine).

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The King's Speech is an engrossing, fact-based drama that's rated R primarily for a few scenes of strong language (including one "f"-word-filled outburst). It has inspiring and empowering messages about triumphing over your fears. An indie about a king who stutters might not seem like typical adolescent fare, but don’t judge a movie by the brief synopsis: Teens will enjoy it as much as the grown-ups will if they give it a chance. In addition to the swearing, there's some social drinking, but that all fades in comparison to the movie's surprisingly moving themes of hope and perseverance. Note: An edited version of the movie that removes/lessens some of the strongest language has been rated PG-13 and released separately.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 15 year old Written byTsion January 29, 2011

R Rated??? Hardly. More like a strong PG.

THE KING'S SPEECH is the reason the movie ratings system is ineffective. Ladies and gentlemen, this is a movie that you WANT your kids to see. It is insp... Continue reading
Parent of a 11 and 14 year old Written bypwi11iam2 February 24, 2011

Ignore the "R" rating

Why this movie is rated "R" is beyond me. This is a PG-13 movie that your 12 year old should be able to see. The "R" is probably due to cou... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byJnic April 22, 2011

Fantastic movie - not worthy of R rating

Don't let the R rating scare you. This movie is fantastic. Apart from a few brief scenes including intense language (though it is used in the context of th... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byilovevintage April 30, 2011

Shouldn't Have Been Rated R

First off, I think that "The King's Speech" shouldn't be rated R. PG-13 would have been fine, but it's just because of some vulgar lang... Continue reading

What's the story?

In THE KING'S SPEECH, King George VI (Colin Firth), father to Queen Elizabeth II, inherited the British throne in 1936 after his brother Edward’s controversial abdication to marry divorcee Wallis Simpson. Ultimately, he would lead the United Kingdom through World War II. But even before he ascended the throne, he was a man struggling with a persistent and troubling condition: He stammered. This was a source of deep despair for the soon-to-be king, who was known among friends and family members as Bertie. Despite his wife's (Helena Bonham Carter) best efforts and deep, abiding love, Bertie was stunted by rage and anxiety. But in this film based on true events, the king finally finds an ally in Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), an Australian speech therapist who helps Bertie gain the confidence and will to overcome his fears and let his voice be heard, literally and metaphorically.

Is it any good?

It is a singularly gratifying experience to watch this film's three stars -- Firth, Bonham Carter, and Rush -- do what they do best: act. It's like watching a master class. They disappear into their characters and make them both interesting and understandable. That's not always the case with films about royalty. Often, they're a visual (and unremarkable) summary of what we know from books; here, they fascinate with their trials, triumphs, and, most of all, humanity. And for a movie steeped in a feel-good message -- "You don't need to be afraid of the things you were afraid of when you were 5," intones one man -- it's far from clichéd.

Credit, too, goes to director Tom Hooper and screenwriter David Seidler, who himself conquered a stutter and was inspired by the king. They have created characters so rich that they compel viewers to rush to the Web for some post-viewing research. We know a lot about today's royals, but they don't hold a candle to their predecessors -- or at least to the ones portrayed here. The movie makes history and self-help irresistible. Bottom line? The King's Speech is superb.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the messages in The King's Speech. What are viewers meant to take away from watching?

  • How does the movie portray stuttering and those who suffer from it? Does it seem realistic and believable? How does Bertie's struggle with stuttering affect him?

  • How did the queen pave the way for the king's success? Are they positive role models? Do you think the movie portrays them accurately? Why might filmmakers change some details in a fact-based story?

  • How do the characters in The King's Speech demonstrate communication and perseverance? What about integrity and humility? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

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