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Go hear “The Kings Speech” recommends guest blogger Ron Wells

December 28, 2010
Planning on seeing a movie over the holidays? Here’s a review and a recommendation for The Kings Speech by guest blogger Ron Wells. (SPOILER ALERT!)
The Royal Family has always intrigued filmmakers because the Royal Family has always interested movie goers. A peek into the flaws and foibles of the aristocracy is usually entertaining, not because they are special, but because they are all too often so very human. The Kings Speech, written by David Seidler (Tucker: the Man and His Dream), and directed by Tom Hooper (The Damned United; John Adams) deals with the stuttering problem of  the Duke of York, and soon to be King George VI (Colin Firth), and the therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), who is charged with the task of curing the stutter.
Against the backdrop of Hitler’s rise to power, the English look to their king for support and strength. Standing in the way is a microphone, the “wireless Pandora’s Box” that threatens to send the future King running back to his castle in shame.
Something must be done, as therapist upon therapist fails to cure the speech impediment. Into the breech comes Logue, a brash Australian with few if any credentials and a love of Shakespeare. The meeting of these two men is at the heart of the film and it is masterful to behold, for each is strong and determined to do things his way, whether the other one likes it or not. They embark on a journey that plays out on screen like a back and forth dance of hope and despair as each one circles the other in intricate steps of one-upsmanship. The supporting cast, Helena Bonham Carter, Derek Jacobi and Guy Pearce among others,  is all top notch, but this is Firth’s and Rush’s film from beginning to end. Though it begins slowly, the film builds  and builds in intensity as the audience learns more about each man, and the threat of war becomes more than just a threat. At the same time, the future King watches as the present King, his brother, King Edward VIII (Guy Pearce), has his own melodrama going on with his relationship with that “American woman”, Wallis Simpson.
Personal, familial, and societal layers are slowly stripped away displaying conflict upon conflict  in a world beset in turmoil.
While the classical music which accompanies this film is highly indicative of the classical nature of the film itself, that is not to say that this is an old fashioned film. In fact, it’s easy for us to identify with both men and the challenges they must overcome.

It is this highly human element that gives the film so much of its power, for we all must overcome obstacles at some point or another in our lives. This just deals with two men working behind the scenes on one particular obstacle that comes from many sources, as the entire world awaits the outcome.
This is not some stuffy British drama.
Quite the contrary, it is filled with wonderful moments of humor such as when the future King sings and/or uses profanity to overcome his impediment. It is glorious to see the physical and emotional changes which Firth displays as he begins to grow in stature and confidence using some of the most fascinating and unusual methods which Rush’s “therapist” employs. The final speech is spellbinding, a powerful statement of the will to overcome any obstacle.
“Stand calm and firm and united, for there may be dark days ahead.”
Indeed, there would be. Yet before that speech can be given, we are privileged to watch Firth and Rush capture two human beings who must stand firm and calm themselves if they are to achieve their mutual goal. The drama played out on screen, may have a backdrop of Royalty to it, but it is an all too human drama that shows the audience that overcoming huge obstacles is not just a problem for Royalty, it is a challenge in one way or another for every person that walks this planet. And that is where the power of this film resides. 

Go and see this movie. Glory in the acting of Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush, but most of all, glory in the knowledge that we each have the courage to stand up to our greatest challenges, if we will only have the strength of will to match those challenges. As Rush’s character instructs, “You don’t need to be afraid of the things that you were afraid of when you were five.”
We have all feared something. Listen to Firth deliver his speech on the coming of war to England and the world as Rush stands in front of him helping him along, and you will understand that nobility of spirit, for all people, comes from standing up to that fear.
Thank you Ron, for writing this review! And I apologize for any funky formatting…
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