The King's Speech Analytical Essay
1110 WordsOct 23rd, 20125 Pages
God Save The King’s Speech Academy award winning film, The King’s Speech, is a motivational movie where voice and courage become a matter of life and death. Prince Albert, later known as King George VI (Colin Firth), stammers excessively and uncontrollably through his inaugural speech closing the 1925 British Empire Exhibition due to a speech impediment. After finishing such a disappointing speech, Prince Albert decides to give up on himself and accept his fate as a stammering heir to the throne. However, his wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), enlists him to see an Aussie speech therapist that goes by the name of Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) whose “Antipodean methods are known to be ‘unorthodox’ and ‘controversial,’” (“The King’s…show more content…
Bertie, is seen as a soon-to-be agonizing heir to the throne because he lacks communication skills. The only thing stopping Prince Albert is himself. In the movie he states: “If I'm King, where's my power? Can I form a government? Can I levy a tax, declare a war? No! And yet I am the seat of all authority. Why? Because the nation believes that when I speak, I speak for them. But I can't speak”(“The King’s Speech (2010)”). Prince Albert was a troubled child who was repressed of using his left hand, possessed knock-knees, had an abusive nanny and a death of a brother at an early age. As time passed, Prince Albert never grew out of his comfort zone and continued to speak poorly. Because Prince Albert speaks of himself that way, we can assume that communication is essential in leading a nation and is a foundation for personal life, relationships, professional success and civic life. By saying that a nation believes when he speaks, one can generally expect a leader for any reason or cause to possess great speaking skills in order to be prosperous. The old phrase, “actions speak louder than words” had never been so true such as in the case of Prince Albert. The Duke of York lacks nonverbal behavior greatly in the sense that he has no self esteem therefore, making him a statue when he speaks. “I have received from his Majesty the K-K-K-King”(“The King’s Speech (2010)”) were the
A longtime Colin Firth fan, I saw this wonderful film twice at the Toronto Film Festival.
The film opens with Bertie, Duke of York (Firth), the younger son of King George V, making a speech and becoming embarrassingly tongue-tied. Hearing the echo of his words in the outdoor stadium is enough to thwart his efforts. He looks desperately unhappy as the audience watches, some with expressions ranging from sympathy to impatience - clearly this has happened before.
Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), is an Australian speech therapist known for unorthodox methods. The moment we see his home, its eclectic decor tells us he is an unusual character. Logue has a happy and active family. He and his wife (Jennifer Ehle)have 3 sons, ranging in age from early adolescence to late teens. Evidence of the boys' activities is seen around the somewhat messy house - schoolbooks, model planes, etc.
Into this home comes the Duchess of York (Helena Bonham Carter), clearly out of her element. Presenting herself as "Mrs. Johnson," she tells Logue her husband stutters and is called upon to speak in public in his line of work. Logue replies that perhaps he should find a new job! She says that would be impossible, to which Logue inquires if he is an indentured servant. "Yes, sort of," she replies. After she reveals his true identify, Logue only agrees to take him on as a patient if the therapy is conducted in his own office (no house calls, even for royalty) and tells her it is "my castle, my rules."
A reluctant Bertie is coaxed into a first appointment, which ends badly. Logue records him reading the "to be or not to be" soliloquy from Hamlet while wearing headphones blasting Beethoven so that he can't hear himself speaking. Bertie has little patience for these "tricks" and ultimately rips off the headphones and storms out, but not before Logue presents him with the recording as a "souvenir." Some time later, Bertie plays the recording, in which he perfectly enunciates the Shakespearean passage , as Elizabeth, unseen, stands in the doorway listening.
So back to Logue he goes.
Their sessions are filled with pathos and humor. An unlikely friendship begins between two men from vastly different worlds - Logue insists on equality, calling the duke "Bertie." Logue knows that in most cases, stammering results from traumatic childhood experiences, although Bertie scoffs at this assertion. "I was always like this," he insists, Logue replying that no infant begins talking in a stammer. Gradually, his harsh treatment as a child - what we would consider child abuse today - is revealed, sometimes in song at Logue's insistence, when it is too painful to relate in speech. This breakthrough is one of the most powerful scenes in the film, and made me cry both times I saw it. At one point, the two men have a nasty argument and a disruption of their relationship. Bertie makes some cruel comments, mocking Logue's background and questioning his motivation. You can clearly see the hurt on Logue's face as Bertie walks away.
We all know what is going on in the background: the abdication crisis. Edward VI (David) and Wallis Simpson are unsympathetically portrayed. In one scene, David mockingly mimics Bertie's stammer, accusing him of wanting to steal his throne. In truth, Bertie dreads becoming King, breaking down in tears when he realizes his fear is about to become reality. When GeorgeV dies, making David the King, David abdicates when not allowed to marry the twice-divorced Wallis.
Bertie rekindles his relationship with Logue, trying to apologize without saying the words. Logue understands that royalty does not apologize, and begins readying Bertie to speak at the coronation.
The Archbishop of Canterbury does not approve of Logue's influence on the King, and questions his credentials. In a pivotal scene at a Westminster Abbey "rehearsal," the King supports Logue, who admits he is not a doctor and does not have impressive credentials, but never misrepresented himself to clients. After the Archbishop leaves, an amusing "rehearsal" scene takes place at the Abbey.
The film takes a serious turn as Hitler comes into power. Bertie, Elizabeth and their daughters (Margaret and Elizabeth, the current queen) watch a coronation newsreel, followed by footage of Hitler inciting the German people. Bertie's comment? "I don't know what he is saying, but he says it well," envying Hitler's oratory power.
Bertie is an affectionate, hands-on father, in contrast to his own childhood when he and his brother were brought to their parents for a "daily viewing." After he becomes king, the princesses hesitate, then curtsy, upon seeing him. Bertie's face changes as he realizes how completely his life will change, but immediately gathers them into his arms.
As WWII approaches, preparation begins for "The King's Speech" to the nation. The end of the film is brilliant as Bertie speaks live on radio, with Logue there to coach him. We see shots of his subjects - soldiers, people in pubs, his mother, even David and Wallis - listening to the stirring speech. It is a resounding success, but realistically portrayed, as Bertie hesitates several times, following Logue's non-verbal cues to get through it. Afterwards, Logue tells him "you still stammered on the W's" to which Bertie replies, "I had to throw in a few of those so they 'd know it was me." Director Tom Hooper revealed at the Q&A, that that response was taken from the king's own diary.
The film ends with the royal family on the balcony, waving to their subjects as Logue watches, having, for the first time, addressed Bertie as "Your Majesty." It is noted on screen that Bertie and Lionel remained friends for the rest of their lives and that Lionel was awarded a CVO for "personal service to the sovereign." I highly recommend this absorbing drama with masterful characterizations by its two principal actors.
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