February 19, 2011
The King's Speech (2010)
Like any other movies that has been nominated in prestigious awards, this movie has been on my watch-list. Fortunately, I don't have the opportunity to read other reviews about The King's Speech. I've discovered that reading other review might give you high expectation but still it's you to decide what's good and what is not. But still, you can sense whether the movie have depth or not from the director, the cast, the movie title and the poster.
The story : Biopic about England's King George VI (father of present day Queen Elizabeth II) and his lifelong struggle to overcome his speech impediment. Suffering from a stammer from the age of 4 or 5, the young Prince Albert dreaded any public speaking engagement and history records that his speech at the closing of the 1925 Commonwealth exhibition in London was difficult for both him and everyone listening that day. He tried many different therapies over many years but it was only when he met Lionel Logue, a speech therapist, that he truly began to make progress. Logue did not have a medical degree but had worked as an elocution coach in the theater and had worked with shell-shocked soldiers after World War I. Through a variety of techniques - and much hard work - he learns to speak in such a way so as to make his impediment a minor problem and delivers a faultless speech heard around the world by radio when England declared war on Nazi Germany in 1939. The King and Logue remained lifelong friends.(imdb.com)
The more I see Colin Firth in his latest movies, the more I gave him a credit. He has the quality to be fragile and manful at the same time. He also have a classic cut that has its own interest. It is interesting to pair him with Helena Bonham, who plays a dedicated supporting wife. It might have been the most traditionary role she played recently, or the most I've seen (after playing Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland and Bellatrix Lestrange in Harry Potter). Geoffrey Rush also have a strong impression to be the King's Therapist (also the movie's executive producer).
This is what I discovered about the story behind :
David Seidler, the writer, had himself developed a stammer as a child, due, he believes, to the emotional trauma of the war, which had included the murder of his grandparents during the Holocaust. As a child, Seidler was inspired on finding out that King George VI had overcome a stutter. “Here was a stutterer who was a king and had to give radio speeches where everyone was listening to every syllable he uttered, and yet did so with passion and intensity,” Seidler recalled. When Seidler became a writer as an adult, he resolved to write about King George VI. During the late seventies and eighties he voraciously researched the King, but found a dearth of information on Logue. Eventually, Seidler contacted Dr. Valentine Logue, who agreed to discuss his father and make his notebooks available, if the Queen Mother gave her permission. Read more here (wikipedia)
Although the filmmakers made the movie's script based on true story accurately and few changes have been made for artistic and dramatic reasons, it still has those values that deserve a high appreciation. A child from a royal kingdom basicly is a human who could suffer from a speech disorder. If you study more about stuttering, they are very often the result of living with a highly stigmatized disability (wikipedia), which means a stress from the pressure to be perfect. This perfect image is surely important for a royal family.
One thing that amazed me is behind one's powerful image, there is a point or a soft spot that they are incapable of. To jump over that obstacle against all pressure is amazing. King George have that speech disorder and being placed in a spot where he has to gave a speech for the good of his people. In addition for his brother who choose to be married with someone's wife is against kingdom's policy, leaves King George to be the United Kingdom's hope to be their king. His effort to work on his stutterness give the benefit to his speech, mouthing word per word that actually give more strength and meaning to his speech.
The confidence King George had from his wife is something beautifully portrayed in this movie. Helena Bonham had elegance and class to be the King's wife. It's justifying behind a powerful man there's a powerful woman.
His friendship with Logue is something else. Sometimes aside from high qualifications and skill that one have, it's whether you are comfortable enough or not with that person. Comfortable could mean chemistry and bond, is that person gives you the confidence you crave. It is beautiful to see someone overcame his fear and take charge.
Read the movie's trivia here.