THE KING'S SPEECH
Speaking Truth to Authority
Release Date: November 24, 2010
Genre: Historical Drama
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 118 minutes
Distributor: Weinstein Co./Fox Searchlight/News Corp.
Director: Tom Hooper
Writer: David Seidler
Address Comments To:Rupert Murdoch, Chairman/CEO, News Corp.
Chase Carey, President/COO, News Corp.
Stephen Gilula, President/COO
Nancy Utley, President/COO, Fox Searchlight Pictures
A division of Fox, Inc. and News Corp.
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The story opens with Prince Albert, the second heir to the Throne of England, making a horrible speech in 1927 because of his terrible stuttering problem. Everyone, including Albert’s wife, Elizabeth, tries to help him get over it, but nothing works. Then, Elizabeth finds an unconventional Australian speech therapist, Lionel Logue, who offers to help the Albert, but only if Albert will place himself entirely in Lionel’s hands.
Like many an Australian, Lionel has no patience for authority, much less for the stuffy traditions of English royalty. Albert is a very guarded man with some emotional baggage because of his stuttering problem, which his family, including his father, King George V, has mocked relentlessly since Prince Albert aka “Bertie” was a child. Consequently, Bertie and Lionel at first mix like oil and water.
Lionel’s expertise as a speech therapist, which he has learned through experience, clearly shows, however. Once Bertie lets his hair down a little, the frosty relationship between he and Lionel begins to thaw. As a result, Bertie begins to make real progress in getting over his stutter.
The problem is, to cure himself completely, Bertie ultimately has to face some uncomfortable facts about his strained relationship with his impatient father. Also, both he and Lionel must overcome some skepticism of Lionel’s expertise from the royal family’s advisors, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Church of England.
Things come to a head when Bertie’s father dies and Bertie’s brother, the Prince of Wales, abdicates because of his love for a divorced American woman. Things really get serious when Bertie, now King George VI, must rally the British people against Hitler’s evil National Socialists in Germany by making the most important public speech of his life.
THE KING’S SPEECH tells a gripping, patriotic personal story that had a profound effect on history. The performances in THE KING’S SPEECH are superb, as is the movie’s production values in re-creating 20th Century England just before World War II.
Regrettably, the script meanders a little bit. This leads to a longer than necessary running time. Also, the movie often sides with the speech therapist’s Romantic, anti-authoritarian attitude (even though it can be a good thing to speak Truth to authority). Also, there are three scenes where the therapist gets the king to use strong foul language (nearly 40 obscenities, including some “f” bombs) as one method to get over his stuttering. The movie shows this method to be very useful. Finally, the movie telescopes events a lot, making the king’s first war speech more dramatic than it probably actually was. All that said, the movie does have a strong patriotic tone, including a strong approval of England’s stand against Adolph Hitler’s National Socialism.
Thus, all in all, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for THE KING’S SPEECH.
THE KING’S SPEECH tells a gripping, patriotic personal story that had a profound effect on history. The acting and production values are superb, though the script is more character focused. Regrettably, the movie also often sides with the speech therapist’s anti-authoritarian attitude and contains lots of strong foul language when the therapist urges the king to say bad words to cure his problem. Thus, extreme caution is warranted.