Anyone who has ever spent some time in teaching others will appreciate the masterful English film The King's Speech. The surface story is about how an Australian speech instructor helps an British royal to grow out of stuttering so that he can give public speeches. But the inner story, which I found even more fascinating, is about how a caring, resilient man helps another man escape humiliation and helplessness so that he might maintain his dignity before his family, his friends, his nation, and the world. Can there be a greater earthly gift than that?
Ironically, the process of helping another person in this case validates the worth of the caregiver. He, a man who has worked well in his profession yet without credentials, and a man who has tried but been rejected in the work of his dreams, finds that validation through giving himself to the improvement of a man one might think has everything, a king.
Written by David Seidler and directed by Tom Hooper, The King's Speech stars Colin Firth as King George VI of Britain, Geoffrey Rush as Lionel Logue, the speech instructor, and Helena Bonham Carter as Queen Elizabeth. The story takes place in 1930s London, and the setting is immaculately created in tone and texture so that the audience is immersed in that time and place as if we were sharing in it. The cinematography and music well support a script that allows the actors to give remarkable performances.
Along with the inner story of the two men struggling toward mutual triumph, there is another fascinating story as well. This was a time when the British monarchy still mattered immensely. The British age of empire was all but gone, but the figureheads of that empire were still very much a presence even if the world was giving way from royals of all nationalities to politicians and common persons of power. The old Western caste system was crumbling as democracy- or despotism- became what was of greater influence. King George VI was caught in that transitional time in a sort of identity crisis, as must be all of the British royals since that time. We no longer have a world of royalty guiding the fortunes of the nations today, but political parties, corporations, oligarchical coalitions and cartels. Royals of any official sort are reminders of the past more than icons of the present. To see King George VI struggling with his place in the world is something to which many people can relate as they try to find their place in our current time of so many great transitions and innovations. We, too, struggle at times, perhaps not so much with the power of public and private speech, but simply with the power of appropriate choice in a world of so many moving choices. This film is full of powerful allegories in that regard.
The King's Speech is the best film I have seen in many months, and though it is a look back into history, it shines a light into the future. When two people work together in trust and care for dignity, often what was impossible for one alone becomes a reality. Five stars.
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Movie Mood: Feel-good Movie
Viewing Method: Other
Film Completeness: Looked complete to me.
Worst Part of this Film: Nothing