Thursday, December 9, 2010

THE KING'S SPEECH

How rare it is to see a movie that is stimulating, intelligent, and entertaining.  To watch one that pulls off the cinema hat trick of impeccable acting, writing (David Seidler) and directing (Tom Hooper).  That rarity is The King’s Speech.

Many of us of a certain age are familiar with the spine of the story. It’s 1936, the Great Depression is grinding away, and war clouds are forming over Europe. Britain’s King George V (Michael Gambon) dies, his vapid son Edward (Guy Pearce) succeeds him as king. Just eleven months later, Edward abdicates so he can run off and marry the American multiple-divorcée, Wallis Simpson. Younger brother Albert Frederick Arthur George, or “Bertie,” (Colin Firth) ascends to the throne as King George VI. As far as European royal families go, so far, so good

But – there’s always a “but” – Bertie has a problem.  And it’s a problem that I certainly wasn’t aware of before this movie. Bertie has been a life-long stammerer, and he’s deathly afraid of any form of public speaking. Yet he now has a nation to inspire as its titular leader, and he has to do this during a time of rising international turmoil. This requires ceremonial remarks, radio addresses, public appearances – all anathema to this insecure, embarrassed, stammering king.

So stammering and British history intersect. And this leads to the heart of the movie – the relationship between Bertie and his highly unconventional speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush). Watching this rocky relationship develop, as portrayed by two masters of the acting art, Firth and Rush, is a treat to behold. And the lesser roles aren't too shabby -- Helen Bonham Carter as Queen Elizabeth, Derek Jacobi as the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The critical reception has been almost unanimously gushing.  All 17 top critics as compiled by Rotten Tomatoes gave it the highest accolade -- a ripe tomato rating.


To me, one of the most interesting perspectives on the movie was that written by the drama critic of the Los Angeles Times, Charles McNulty. What makes his review a little more special is that McNulty is himself a stammerer. Some quotes from his piece:

Public speaking consistently ranks as one of life's most stressful events, up there with divorce, bereavement and home foreclosure.

As someone who has stuttered since childhood, I recognize [Bertie’s] symptoms only too well — the blood-drained complexion, the collapsing gait, the passive acceptance of death in the eyes.

Probably the darkest period of my life was around the time I was just finishing graduate school and feeling completely overwhelmed with doubts about how I would make my way in the world. How funny that a future king could share my anxiety.

By the way, I recently read Black Swan Green, a terrific 2006 novel by British writer David Mitchell in which the protagonist is a 13-year-old stammerer. His biggest challenges arise from the cruelty that many children impose upon a peer who has a disability. As McNulty pointed out in his movie essay,

The condition has been coded as a joke in popular culture, one of the few disabilities considered fair game for laughs.

We recently watched another highly enjoyable movie about 20th-century British royals, The Lost Prince. Written and directed by Stephen Poliakoff, this BBC film tells the poignant tale of Prince John, the epileptic youngest brother of Bertie and Edward. Available on DVD at Netflix.

65 comments:

  1. Totally agree - a wonderful film. Richard Brown of NYU showed it in film class and did 40 minutes on how was a stammerer. Firth and Rush did great justice to their roles. Loved the negative (but accurate) portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ben, Yes, a terrific movie; consider for a moment a historical twist. What if Edward had been less enchanted and - consistent with the behavior of most monarchs for 5000 years - kept Wallis as a mistress? Recent historical research suggests that the couple, well known pre-war German sympathizers, might have actually been active agents, or, at the very least, confidential sources to both the Abwehr(German military intelligence) and the SD (Sicherheitsdienst, the Security Service of the SS). Steve O

    ReplyDelete
  3. fangyanting20150930
    prada handbags, http://www.pradahandbagsoutlet.co.uk/
    nike huarache, http://www.nikeairhuarache.org.uk/
    nfl jerseys wholesale, http://www.nfljerseys-wholesale.us.com/
    cheap oakley sunglasses, http://www.cheapoakleysunglassess.us.com/
    juicy couture outlet, http://www.juicycoutureoutlet.net/
    rolex watches uk, http://www.rolexwatches-uk.co.uk/
    tiffany outlet, http://www.tiffany-outlet.us.com/
    ugg boots, http://www.uggbootsclearance.in.net/
    tory burch outlet, http://www.toryburchoutletonline.in.net/
    hermes bags, http://www.hermesbags.co.uk/
    ralph lauren uk, http://www.ralphlauren-outletonline.co.uk/
    kobe shoes, http://www.kobeshoes.us/
    karen millen dresses, http://www.karenmillendressesoutlets.co.uk/
    michael kors handbags, http://www.michaelkorshandbagsoutletstore.us.com/
    cheap ugg boots, http://www.cheapuggboots.net.co/
    longchamp outlet, http://www.longchampoutlet.name/
    air jordan 13, http://www.airjordan13s.com/
    chanel handbags, http://www.chanelhandbags-outlet.us.com/
    nike roshe, http://www.nikerosherunshoes.co.uk/
    soccer jerseys, http://www.cheapsoccerjersey.net/
    gucci, http://www.borseguccioutlet.it/
    louis vuitton handbags, http://www.louisvuittonhandbagsoutlet.co.uk/
    ray ban sunglasses, http://www.ray-bansunglasses.eu.com/
    mbt shoes, http://www.mbtshoesoutlet.us.com/
    dansko outlet, http://www.dansko-shoes.us/
    ray ban sunglasses, http://www.raybansunglassesonline.in.net/
    tiffany and co jewelry, http://www.tiffanyandco.in.net/
    cheap wedding dresses, http://www.cheap-weddingdresses.net/
    dvdv

    ReplyDelete
  4. The standard span of these credits is only fourteen days and such advances are taken to meet costs till the following payday. These sorts of advances are commonly include little sums running from £500 to about £1000. Payday credits are otherwise called loan and the financing cost is on the higher side.

    ReplyDelete
  5. In addition, this advance office is generally served under the classification of unsecured advance, where the borrower appreciates the opportunity of no security accommodation.

    ReplyDelete
  6. To the extent the reimbursement is concerned, the borrower require just present a post dated check to the moneylender at the season of credit endorsement.

    ReplyDelete
  7. When it comes time to pay your duties, you require that cash now, since Uncle Sam isn't the sort to take pardons.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Looking for a dependable source is a sorry bother with this credit design as the significant hazard factor is on the moneylender's side.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks for all your information, Website is very nice and informative content.

    www.happywheelsy8.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. I was a girl, but clumsy things. I do not know how to cook, sew, above, ca. I have too insipid and tedious, but that's my personality. It's hard to change
    www.facebookbaixargratis.com.br

    ReplyDelete
  11. a given article is very interesting and very useful for my admin thank you very much and sorry for my permission to share the article here :

    Cara mengatasi badan berlemak
    Obat untuk mengatasi penebalan dinding rahim
    Obat herbal kanker lidah

    ReplyDelete
  12. ذلك في أعقاب ما تم إجراءه من دراسات وأبحاث عن ظاهرة مبالغة أعدد الحشرات المنزلية بالسنوات الفائتة، فعلى الرغم من أن إشكالية كتلك يتكبد منها الإنسان منذ قديم الدهر لكن ما توصله إليه من تطور اليوم يمنعه من النهوض في مواجهة هذه المكابدة دون إحراز أي رد تصرف لردعها.
    شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بالخرج
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالخرج
    شركة رش مبيدات بالخرج
    ارخص شركة مكافحة حشرات

    ReplyDelete

  13. Don’t be kidding yourself when you say that you do not want to spend your time with an exotic looking woman who is a Escorts in Goa complete stranger, someone you have not seen before but with features, looks and a figure to diefor. We have women with these qualities and more all here with us. Check our other Services...
    Escorts in Haridwar
    Escorts Service in Faridabad
    Escorts Service in Goa
    Escorts Service in Haridwar
    Escorts Service in Pune
    Escorts in Faridabad

    ReplyDelete


  14. The agency follows a strict selection procedure and each and every female interested in joining us need to meet the essential conditions and fulfill the eligibility criteria.Escorts in AgraEscorts in Agrawe have and There is a long list of elite customers who has blind faith in us. It is because of the uncompromising terms and conditions that we strictly follow to ensure highest level of privacy. Check our other Services...
    Female Escorts in Agra
    Female Escorts in Agra
    Russian Escorts in Agra
    Escorts in Agra
    Female Escorts in Agra

    ReplyDelete
  15. An impressive share, I just given this onto a colleague who was doing a little analysis on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast because I found it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love reading more on this topic. If possible, as you become expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more details? It is highly helpful for me. Big thumb up for this blog post!

    Fanfiction.net
    Information

    ReplyDelete
  16. Nice post. I learn something more challenging on different blogs everyday. It will always be stimulating to read content from other writers and practice a little something from their store. I’d prefer to use some with the content on my blog whether you don’t mind. Natually I’ll give you a link on your web blog. Thanks for sharing.

    Click Here
    Visit Web

    ReplyDelete
  17. I was very pleased to find this web-site. I wanted to thanks for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you blog post.

    Meuserlib.org
    Information

    ReplyDelete
  18. Can I just say what a relief to find someone who actually knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of the story. I cant believe youre not more popular because you definitely have the gift.

    Click Here
    Visit Web
    Gust.com

    ReplyDelete
  19. An impressive share, I just given this onto a colleague who was doing a little analysis on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast because I found it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love reading more on this topic. If possible, as you become expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more details? It is highly helpful for me. Big thumb up for this blog post!

    Visit Web
    Themehunt.com
    Information

    ReplyDelete