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Open Collection of Student Writing (OCSW)

The Inspiring Battle of a Stammering King

Do you want to learn the path for greatness? This film can tell you something about it. Among all sad and agonizing historical drama movies, The King’s Speech (created in 2010, under the direction of Tom Hooper and written by David Seidler) is a simple but happy and inspiring story that showcased King George VI’s life and what happened in the time of the declaration of war against Germany in 1939.

Prince Albert, Duke of York (played by Colin Firth) who was called Bertie by his family and later by his language therapist Lionel Logue (played by Geoffrey Rush), is a stutterer and therefore cannot make great speeches the way his father King George V (played by Michael Gambon) did. Public speaking is a very important task when you are part of royalty, but it becomes even more important when you are a king. To improve his speech, his wife Elizabeth, Duchess of York (played by Helena Bonham Carter) scheduled meetings with a few language therapists. None of the therapists pleased him until he met Lionel Logue who had a different approach to attack his problem and made the difference in his successful reign. In the beginning of the treatment, Bertie was pessimist, impatient and short-sighted; he did not believe he could be cured at all. As the movie goes on, he gets more used to Lionel’s simple approach and allows himself to be part of that new reality he experienced, which is completely different from his fancy royal life. In the end, Lionel becomes friend of the royal family and becomes one of the King George VI’s advisors.

Just like all good drama movies, The King’s Speech has moments of distress and affliction every time the prince has to speak in public; the affliction is even greater when the most important speech is getting close. The film also makes you have mixed emotions because in one moment you cross your fingers and wish the king the best luck, in the other you feel that the king does not deserve to be treated by such nice man like doctor Logue.

Danny Cohen made a great work in the cinematography, using a likely scenario representing the beginning of the 20th century; the movie brings a real image of clothing and atmosphere in that time. The music (by Alexandre Desplat) helps by creating emotion according to what is happening in each moment and according to what the characters are feeling, for example, when Prince Albert first recorded his voice in Lionel’s office they used an exciting type of music, and when he was giving some speech they used more calm songs. Most of songs are orchestra songs including some Beethoven Symphonies.

Most part of the story is in indoor spaces (Logue’s office and the English Palace, for example) and the director opted for darker shoots to give a good sense of the time period. It is not the kind of movie with too many emotional scenes, so the editor Tariq Anwar created a piece by catching the actors’ physiognomy to give as much emotion as he could.

The narrative was well summarized in terms of just focusing on the reason that King George VI desired that therapy so much and why he worked so hard to get good results; everything in the narrative revolved around the greatest speech he would have to give for his nation to relieve the tension built among people due to the war that was about to come.

The techniques used in the film perfectly followed the thematic content (royalty’s life compared to subject’s life decades ago, in England), especially the period it occurred, which is one the most important characteristics that helps to understand and feel the movie. It gives you a sense of reality instead of making you think the movie is making fun of the king or any thought like that. There is also an interesting message in the movie which is “if you have a problem you first need to sincerely want to fix it and the fight for it”; it means that you need to be interested in your problem more than anyone else, and your desire to fix it has to be greater than anyone else too; to exemplify it, Lionel Logue asks him “Do you want to be treated?” more than once during his sessions with the King.

Despite the great use of techniques, the creators fail the historical accuracy of some facts, for example the time that the Duke of York took for his therapy with Logan was actually some months instead of years as the movie showed; also, there are some disagreements about King Edward VIII’s attitudes shown in the movie, for example his easily abdication of the throne.

Even so, there is a reason for this movie to have had numbers of awards, such as best actor, best director, best original screenplay, best picture and best cinematography, as well as 12 indications to Oscar in that year. Watching the film is the best way to have you entertained while learning a little bit of some facts of King George VI’s reign and his battle against stammering.

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