The King’s Speech

Posted by ron On April - 21 - 2011

In a prude nation like England speak only when spoken to, be discreet, and never waste a word when only one will do.

At one point or another, every one has had to deal with speaking in front of an audience and if you remember distinctly, how the weight of one sentence generated so much anxiety never mind, it felt like an eternity to finish. The source of anxiety was the key to the riddle of George VI’s stuttering issues in the King’s Speech directed by Tom Hooper. With a brother who abdicated the throne for a divorced socialite and a Second World War on the horizon, George VI (Colin Firth) has a problem. He can’t seem to get his words out when it counts most. When all else failed, unorthodox practitioner Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) was called in to work on his phonetic enunciation.

The King’s Speech took place during a fascinating time when socializing between the classes in England was very uncommon. One could be thrown in prison for merely calling a Royal Family member by the vernacular. Radio was the only methodology to reach every corner of the country. The purpose, description of the event, and structure of the words meant every thing in terms of getting the nation to support a cause. Perhaps there was no more important message than that of asking a country to go to war and trust in one man.

The relationship between George VI and Lionel Logue wasn’t so much an actual depiction but an allegory of trust issues between the classes. Neither man respected each other despite very formal pleasantries. Sometimes more is less in terms of the quality of life that each man held. After King George VI took the throne, he came home to find out his private life had changed forever when his children chose to curtsey instead of running to his open arms for a hug in his own home. Family life became as much a business as Royal life. Mr. Logue never had such problems as displaying public affection but he certainly enjoyed torturing George VI whenever he had the opportunity. In politics, no one is devoid of ego and that goes double for any citizen who loved to defend their apathy towards their country. This movie was effective in portraying that the problems and distrust between ‘them and us’ was never anything recent, just subtler.

Today speech is a lost art form especially with the advent of video. A person can appear to be a complete mess of a speaker but pan to show his assets and suddenly speech doesn’t matter. Speech should matter because it is a reflection of the handle and control over not only yourself but more importantly the use of the language to communicate an idea.

If I had to rate the King’s Speech, I have to describe it with a rich, full-bodied red wine full of class, dignity, and respect.


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