A Window into Life in the Suburbs

"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Luke 12:27 (NIV)

Friday, January 7, 2011

The King's Speech

The husband asked me the night after we saw the film, if I was going to blog about The King's Speech. 
Admittedly I wanted to but I haven't had the time or the energy since. We did, of course, go on holidays and when I wasn't doing something with the children, I was busy in the kitchen or reading in bed. I didn't have any energy to blog at all.
I did, however, post a general comment on Facebook which I will reiterate here in due course.

It's been almost two weeks since I've seen The King's Speech. In all honesty, I was really looking forward to it. The story of a reluctant prince who became a wartime king of Great Britain. Prince "Bertie" aka George VI had a speech impediment... he stammered and was a walking public speaking disaster. The film centres on his relationship with his unorthodox Aussie speech therapist Lionel Logue, charting his progress and his success in overcoming a lifelong affliction. It features a whole host of good actors like Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helen Bonham-Carter and Guy Pearce. Currently 95%  on Rotten Tomatoes, it's garnered widespread critical acclaim. Undoubtedly it will recceive a ton of Oscar nominations and is in the running to win a few Golden Globes.

With such a premise and so much talent behind it, I'm almost sorry to say that I was left feeling some what dissatisfied at the end of it. A mostly good film but...

Hmph. For years, I'd heard that George VI was a devoted Christian man, regular church goer and one who relied on God to get through the rough and tumble of life. Even the book The King's Speech, written by Logue's grandson, Mark, makes mention of that albeit a brief mention.
However, I saw none of that in this film. Thus I never felt that the film got to the core of who the man was, what made him tick, what gave him strength to overcome his lifelong issues apart from the usual humanistic pop psychology triumphalism of secular film-making.
On second thoughts, it may have been blessing that they left out his spiritual convictions altogether lest the film makers turn him into a religious mockery, which they are (let's face it) likely to do.
The lowest point of the film, to my mind, comes at a supposedly cathartic moment when the king, in a fit of rage shows that he too, can descend into vulgarities with the best of them. Perhaps they were going for the shock humour factor... or for the inconvenient truth that stripped bare, the Royals are no better than the rest of us.
Colin Firth is a strong contender to win an Oscar for his performance here. Deservedly so, I felt all of Bertie's frustrations acutely... too acutely... I do think they did belabour the stammering at times. And the anger... the rage... I dunno... call me skeptical... but it felt to me that all those wrathful explosions that littered the film were an exercise of theatrical license.

Perhaps that is what was amiss about the film... it was overly theatrical. Not so much interested in history as in theatrics. Good to look at but not a lot of substance.

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