Thursday, February 24, 2011

The King's Speech

While it is a source of embarrassment to himself and his family, in the larger scheme of things it doesn't seem like too much of a disaster that Prince Albert, Duke of York, known to his family as "Bertie," suffers from a crippling stammer.  When elocution lessons using the methods of Demosthenes fail, Bertie simply resigns himself to withdrawing from public appearances.  His wife Elizabeth is less inclined to leave it at that, and hunts up an unconventional Australian speech therapist, Lionel Logue, whose approach combines physical exercises with a kind of psychological probing that affronts the buttoned-up prince. But Lionel gets results, and when Bertie's older brother is pushed into abdicating the throne, Bertie unexpectedly becomes King George VI.  And the King must speak to his people.

I knew as soon as I heard about this movie that it was going to be right up my alley.  I didn't know much about the storyline; I'd heard quite a bit about the romanticized story of King Edward VIII, but not much about the younger brother who had to pick up the pieces after the abdication. And of course, I'll watch just about anything if it has Colin Firth in it.

I loved this movie.  For a while I was afraid that it wouldn't even play in my town; we only have a couple of multiplex theaters, and a lot of the time it seems they can't spare even one screen for a small period drama.  But when The King's Speech started getting all those award nominations and Oscar buzz, we finally got it here.  And I finally found a friend who also wanted to see it; she's British, as it happens, and was glad that the film presented Edward VIII as kind of a jerk.

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