If you exclude any Disney or Pixar movie, there’s one that, to me, stands head and shoulders above the rest. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I enjoy the simpler films. To me, a story isn’t great based off of what’s told, but rather how it’s told.
Think back to 127 Hours . A story about a guy who gets his hand stuck in a cave. But the brilliance is in the telling. Every moment intense and pouring with creativity.
Frost/Nixon covers the story of 20 hour-long interviews with the former president of the United States. Again, a sharp-as-nails film, highly engaging and equally as gripping. But still, so simple.
The King’s Speech is nearly overwhelming because of the historical ramifications that stems from this true story. Just before Hitler reunites Germany against the world, a man who dreams only of a quiet life is forced to take England’s throne after his self-indulgent older brother abdicates the responsibility. Not only must he conquer his fear of power and failure, but he must learn to speak.
Having been born into a life of politics and plagued with a speech impediment since he was a boy, the Duke of York is forced to see a speech specialist to help him overcome his stuttering.
It’s a place where we have all found ourselves. We’re born into, or placed into circumstances that we did not orchestrate, and we have been gifted with talents and abilities that, if carried out to fruition, could better our surroundings and the people near us. But our greatest strengths often go hand-in-hand with our greatest weaknesses. Anyone can relate to Bertie’s despair in believing that his deficiency is hopeless. And we can all appreciate his pride and unwillingness to let anyone in and help him – because his story is ours.
I appreciate that this 2010 Academy Award winner for Best Picture is rated R for just a scene or two of brief cursing – only the most prudish among us will not find these scenes highly amusing. Though I understand that there is a PG-13 version for those who want to watch this as a family.
Collin Firth’s performance as Bertie, or King George the VI, rivals Tom Hanks’s Forrest Gump. And Geoffrey Rush as the King’s speech therapist, Lionel Logue, steals every scene just as he did as Captain Barbosa in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
There’s a true hero to be found in King George VI and Lionel Logue. The book that’s based on the diaries of Lionel Logue, The King’s Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy, was written by Logue’s grandson, Mark Logue. I cannot recommend this book enough following the movie.
For surely, anyone who watches this – my all-time favorite non-Disney movie – will be starving for more information on the history of Britain when the future Queen Elizabeth was still learning about the ways of the world.
I’m especially excited about the movie about Princess Diana coming out later this year. If it’s a worthy film, it will complete our own self-made “British trilogy collection.” Starting with The King’s Speech, about Queen Elizabeth’s father, then the conspiracy over his granddaughter-in-law’s death in Diana, and ending with how the Queen coped with the aftermath of her daughter-in-law’s death in The Queen.
How fascinating to watch the culmination of history from the reluctant King, half a century ago, to the birth of his great-great grandson, of whom he is appropriately named after.