Well, I finally saw this film that I've been eagerly anticipating to watch since I read about it as blogged here.
I only had 2 days to read the book before watching the film last night but it was worth it to give myself, as an historian, an accurate historical background to the blockbuster that I was about to watch.
The Film Vs The Book
The film didn't let me down and Colin Firth's performance in particular was superb. He is rightly being touted for a Best Actor Oscar for his performance and I hope he gets it.
The casting all round was excellent with Helena Bonham Carter playing a very convincing Queen Elizabeth. Michael Gambon looked and acted every inch the patriarchal George V whilst Guy Pearce at times looked so strikingly like his alter ego King Edward VIII that it was almost spooky. I've always liked Timothy Spall and he gave a Churchillian performance as the soon-to-be Prime Minister.
Ramona Marquez (better known from the BBC1 hit programme, Outnumbered), and Freya Wilson were adorable as the Princesses Margaret and Elizabeth whilst Derek Jacobi played a convincing Archbishop Cosmo Lang.
Fact or Fiction?
There were some historical anomalies in the film such is the way of film-making. Particularly was the fact that Bertie and Logue only met in 1934 in the film whereas they actually met back in the mid '20s after his shambolic performance at Wembley. It's also greatly unlikely that they had the 'spat' that was played out in the film during the abdication crisis. By the book's accounts, by 1936, they were already very close having had a 10 year association by that time. But by tightening the chronology, the film makers added extra drama and suspense to the plot as is their wont.
There were other minor historical issues such as Churchill's apparent criticism of Edward VIII at the climax to the abdication crisis when in fact he was one of his greatest supporters.
So go and see the film for a cinematic feast and read the book as well for the full historical context to what really was a fascinating relationship that changed one family's life and in doing so, played a significant contribution to the future of our country.
PS - For an Oscars update, please read by blog posts from January 25th here and February 28th here.