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The King’s Speech

Posted on 20 January 2011 by LeslieM

By Dave Montalbano

The King’s Speech has all the earmarks of a typical award-nominated motion picture. It’s British, it features classical acting, it is about royalty and focuses upon a character with a physical impediment.

However, if one is prejudiced with the feeling that The King’s Speech is a typical flick for the Oscar Award season, they are going to miss a rare human experience about problem solving. I wish I saw The King’s Speech a few weeks ago; it would have made my Top 10 List for 2010.

It is 1925 and Prince George (Colin Firth) is about to make a speech in a newfangled contraption called a radio microphone. George stammers and the British subjects think that the village idiot has hijacked the microphone. Fortunately for the Brits, George is not the next in line for the Empire’s throne, his big brother Edward the 8th (Guy Pearce) is.

After nine years of failed speech therapy, George and his wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) enter the
office of Lionel Loque (Geoffrey Rush), a failed actor who became a speech therapist during World War I. Logue’s methodology is unorthodox, but George makes progress. By 1939, stammering George is able to lead his nation against the master orator, Adolph Hitler, as the winds of World War II are stoked.

If one has ever suffered from an impediment similar to a stammer, one will find truth with Loque’s technique. The audience witnesses the importance of developing a melody of thought when speaking.

As Loque later says to the future King,“You do not need to be afraid of the thing that you were afraid of at the age of 5.”

As serious as the subject is, The King’s Speech provides humor that is human.  We see the British class distinctions being shattered when Loque demands that George act like a patient, not like a royal. We see George and Elizabeth share storytime with their daughters – one is Elizabeth II, the current Queen of the British Empire.

When I interviewed veteran Claire Bloom (Queen Mary) during the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival, she stated it was a privilege to watch Firth and Rush work together. Both have great chemistry; their scenes together are electric. The ensemble cast featuring Bloom, Bonham Carter, Michael Gambon and Timothy Spall (as Winston Churchill) cement a firm foundation for the players.

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