Although many critics deride23) the film for inaccurately portraying the severity of the king's stammer, there is little evidence to prove this, since according to director Tom Hooper, there are no known recordings of the king speaking available from the time before he started working with Lionel Logue in 1926. We know that the king “successfully” gave the opening address to the Australian Parliament in Canberra in 1927, but that doesn't mean it was free from error. Bertie's 1925 speech at the British Empire exhibition at Wembley, which opens the film, has been described in various publications as “humiliating”, “disastrous” and “painful”, which was certainly how it was depicted in TKS. Even in rare archive footage24) of a speech given at the Scottish Empire Exhibition in Glasgow, 1938, signs of Bertie's impediment are still evident in his long pauses and stumbling speech, even after a decade of working with Logue.
Hooper admitted that he and Firth decided to portray the king stammering on practically every line to make sure that the stakes seemed high. “The film's structure is slight. Our constant fear was that the climax would not be climactic enough. On the first day of shooting, I had an extraordinary experience. We had to set the level of the stammer. When I pushed Colin toward making his stammer more severe, I was profoundly moved. It was intensely dramatic and powerful. I knew we were not running the risks we had envisaged.” Despite this, Hooper stands by25) the portrayal, saying that he did believe that Bertie's stutter was as calamitous as it was depicted.
One thing we do know that the movie got wrong, however, was the age at which Bertie's stutter manifested itself; in the script, the king admits that he developed the affliction young, around 4 or 5 years old, when in actuality it appeared around the time he was 8. Also not so true: that Bertie practiced with a mouthful of marbles as a potential cure—that was apparently straight out of My Fair Lady26).
Charmingly portrayed by Geoffrey Rush27), Logue is perhaps the most likable member of the cast, one who didn't need too many tweaks for the sake of drama.
Logue was indeed Australian, taught acting and elocution28) in Perth, and certainly did work with war veterans whose shell-shock29) and PTSD30) had left them with speech impediments, before coming to Britain. He opened his Harley Street practice in 1926, which was where Elizabeth found him and enlisted his services to help Bertie.
The main fiction of the film regards exactly when Logue and the king met, which was in 1926, after Bertie's disastrous speech at Wembley. But in the movie's narrative, their meeting is postponed until the late 1930s. Some critics say that Logue's relationship with the king is vastly overstated, although recently discovered letters from Bertie's wife, Elizabeth, to Logue, paint a different story.