The King's Speech (2010)
This account of the life and times of King George VI of the United Kingdom, centered around his stammer, is directed with shameless sentimentality by Tom Hooper (The Damned United). But so long as it is done with this kind of candidness and narrative art, you can get away with far more mush than this. More than anything, The King's Speech is a brilliant character study, with Colin Firth's masterful work as King George VI at the centre of events. He conveys the king's combination of vulnerability and courage in an immensely sympathetic performance. Add to that the technical achievement with the speech part of the role, and you have a worthy Oscar winner.
Alongside Firth, Geoffrey Rush gives a fine performance as King George's speech therapist and friend, and it is in this budding friendship much of the film's warmth and humour is based. It is a lenient and uncritical buddy portrayal, but through backdropping this against the most important historical events during the film's time-span, notably the death of King George V, Edward's abdication and the outbreak of WWII, Hooper finds a suitable balance between the amiable and the momentous. And this is the real genious of The King's Speech; the way George's personal struggle is being put into context and given consequence. As a result, the film is able to retain a high level of suspense as George and Lionel Logue team up in the king's private radio studio to broadcast his first motivational wartime speech, concluding an inspirational story, filled with humanity and insight, about an in some ways ordinary and in other ways extraordinary man.