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The King’s Speech

We don’t see too many movies. Gail would be happy to, but I never seem eager to get to the theater. Unless it’s new Bond or Pixar. Last year was our worst year ever for Oscar-nominated movies. But I realized yesterday that they must all be out on DVD, so off I went to rent The King’s Speech. Best movie. Best director. Best actor. Best screenplay. Must be worth watching. After dinner, we fired up our movie system and entered the world of 1930s Britain.

The audience response hereabouts wasn’t so good. Joel took off halfway through. Gail split her attention between the movie and her iPad. I stayed true to the end, fascinated by the buddy story of King George VI and Lionel Logue. I think the depiction of their relationship was well done. And Geoffrey Rush was superb as Logue. Helena Bonham Carter was pretty good too. (Say, did you know she’s the great-granddaughter of Herbert Henry Asquith, the British prime minister early in the twentieth century?) It could be, though, that the movie is not so easy to take seriously at home, without benefit of the big screen. Can the king’s stuttering really be the major issue facing Britain during the depression, as war approached? In September 1939, in the wake of Hitler’s invasion of Poland, was everyone really so concerned with how the king would handle his speech about the coming war? Maybe so. I don’t know. Yet, much as I enjoyed the story’s narrow focus, it did seem a bit frivolous by the end.

Coincidentally, earlier in the day, I was reading about King George VI’s youth in a book I had just started two days before. Or maybe not coincidentally, now that I think about it. that could be what made me think to see The King’s Speech. More on the book in another post.

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Categories: Movies
  1. May 16, 2011 at 2:05 PM

    I looked this up, and in fact George VI got the help for his stuttering way back in the late twenties (when it was already clear that he would need it, after a disastrous speech in 1925). By the time of his coronation, his speech was basically not an issue any more.

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