The King’s Speech

It feels like a long time since I’ve seen The King’s Speech and that’s a big no-no when it comes to writing this blog. In over a week working at the newspaper, I compose so many other pieces that my favorite subject gets pushed way to the back of my brain.
But, I’m dusting it off and there are definitely some gems in this lovely, and sometimes heartbreaking caper I couldn’t forget.
Colin Firth is King George VI after his brother King Edward VIII  (Guy Pearce) concedes the throne. He is certainly qualified and has the loving support of his wife (Helena Bonham Carter) and two daughters. But, he also has a stammer that prevents him from public speaking, especially as the king of a country about to go to war.
Said wife, Queen Elizabeth, finds Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) to help her husband actually speak the words within him to lead his country. It’s really a complex story told at a time of historical turmoil, but seems so effortless on screen. And, the relationships between the characters are most prevalent despite the serious war backdrop to what’s going on. The king resists working with Lionel as his speech therapist, even though he knows he can help, because he doesn’t want to let his guard down.
Lionel has a silent persistence until Bertie agrees to receive his aid, proven to work by a recording of him speaking clearly and with no stammer. They progress through various techniques like tongue-twisters, jumping jacks and quitting smoking for Bertie. As long as he doesn’t have to get personal with Lionel, he’ll do it.
But that’s exactly what happens and I think is what cures his stammer once and for all. There was much unrest between Bertie and his brother and at the time their father died, the strain in the family grew. It all goes back to Bertie’s childhood, which he only talks about in my favorite scene in the film — with Lionel. It too, like the rest of the movie, was effortless on Lionel’s part to get Bertie to dish about growing up. As a story with a factual basis that can focus more on what’s behind the scenes, The King’s Speech is truly brilliant. As I discussed in Oscar Season, the hype that The Social Network could oust The King’s Speech and the other eight nominees really gets me fired up. I have an allegiance to the Coen Brothers and True Grit, but if a film about the modern forms of communication that was nowhere near as well done as Tom Hooper’s story of people actually talking to each other wins the Oscar, I’ll be speechless.


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