Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Help for a Stammering King

We don’t go to many movies, but last week friends called and said they had enjoyed a film so much they were going a second time and wanted us to go with them. Ok, we agreed to go to Movie #1 for the year.

“The King’s Speech” is based on the true story of how the Duke of York, who became King George VI when his brother, Edward VIII, abdicated, overcame a speech impediment so severe he couldn’t speak in public. The film shows how Lionel Logue, a self-trained speech therapist, prescribed unorthodox treatment that allowed the King to overcome his stammer and deliver a radio address that inspired his nation at the beginning of World War II.

The film isn’t “boring history.” It’s a highly acclaimed film that shows a noted historical figure overcoming a large, embarrassing problem. I could feel the embarrassment as the stammering Duke tried to address a sports event. I could smile—and even laugh at times—as the Duke and later King worked through his problem with his therapist. I think Ann Hornaday, Washington Post reviewer, got it right: “’The King’s Speech’ is a movie of buoyant spirit, affecting sensitivity and infectious cheer.”

Some may shy from a film with an R rating, which this one earned for “language.” In therapy sessions, Lionel angers Bertie (the King’s nickname) and encourages him to swear, which he does—without stammering. I don't use R-rated four-letter words in this blog, but most anyone with ears will have heard them at one time or another.

If you want to sample “The King’s Speech”—without the course language, of course—take a peek at the trailer at the film’s official website. CLICK HERE.

P.S. If you view “The King’s Speech,” go back to the official website when you get home, click the “About” tab at the top, and then at the bottom of that page click on “Hear the Actual Speech of King George VI,” which he delivered on September 3, 1939. I find it amazing how well the film captures history—and the sound of history. About 66,000 people already have listened to the recording on YouTube. Make it 66,001.


  1. Your views are spot on. We went to see it in Bethesda and were surrounded by connoisseurs (not a four letter word, though from a French pedigree, Mr Bob) with whom we laughed and were embarrassed, and applauded at the end! As for Colin Firth, it was a destined-for-an-Oscar performance.

  2. We've taken note, Raj, that you're the first to predict on this blog that Colin Firth will get an Oscar for his preformance in "The King's Speech."

  3. Thanks for the movie review. Finally, a flick fit to watch. I'll look for it.