Harry Forbes on "The King's Speech"

Here's a film I'm dying to see: "The King's Speech."  For I'm a fan of all of the lead actors--Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Gambon, Derek Jacobi; as well as of the director Tom Hooper (who helmed HBO's "John Adams).  Our film reviewer Harry Forbes found it all  good drama, too.  His review begins:

King George VI—affectionately known as Bertie and father of the present-day Queen Elizabeth II—had a stammer so pronounced that public speaking was for him pure, unadulterated agony. His relationship with his speech therapist, Lonnie Logue, an eccentric Australian who taught him to cope with this infirmity, is the unlikely but highly compelling subject of “The King’s Speech.” Director Tom Hooper’s beautifully crafted film transcends the musty historical genre, thanks to a fine script by David Seidler and superlative, award-worthy performances by Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush as upper-crust reluctant pupil and his middle-class unorthodox teacher.

Though older than Bertie would have been at the time, Firth is well cast, and heart-wrenchingly conveys the visceral panic of facing a microphone, as his position increasingly required him to do. Firth skillfully makes the tortuous silences between each hard-earned phrase positively squirm-inducing. 

The narrative begins with Bertie’s father, King George V (Michael Gambon), in full domineering throttle, and his elder brother David (Guy Pearce), as the reluctant heir to the throne. Bertie is to give a speech at Wembley Stadium, but the appearance is an embarrassing disaster.

When his wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), the future Queen Mother, comes upon Logue’s name in a classified ad, she travels incognito to the cozily dingy digs Logue shares with his loving wife (Jennifer Ehle) and their sons. Even when Elizabeth ultimately reveals her identity, Logue—only momentarily nonplussed—insists that if he is to treat her husband it must be done on the premises. When the skeptical Bertie arrives at the flat sometime later, Logue lays down further conditions. They must be on a first-name basis. (“It’s better if we’re equals,” Logue explains.)

The beauty of Seidler’s script is that the relationship does not play out on predictable lines. Even with each breakthrough, there is a realistic tension between these two very different men. Indeed, after that first encounter, Bertie storms out, stating firmly that Logue’s methods are not for him. But after another disastrous attempt at a radio speech, he reconsiders. He and his wife humbly return to Logue, insisting they will just work on “the mechanics,” eschewing the psychoanalysis and Logue’s other questionable methods. Bertie declares that he will see Logue in a week’s time. “I shall see you every day,” Logue retorts firmly, and prevails.


Read the rest of Harry Forbes's review here

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david power
8 years 1 month ago

I meant what has this got to do with Christ.I am sure that the film will be spiritually nourishing and thought provoking in its own way but the finding Christ "In all things" does not seem to be clear in the blog entry.Maybe I am too strict in my definition.
Movies can give great insight into the life of the spirit usually in terms of realism about human angst.
I think  the blog entry would be better with some relation to the message of Jesus even if the subject matter of this film is  deemed secular.  But for a Jesuit magazine that would be inadmissable. Hope my point is clear . Forgive me if it seems like nit-picking.

8 years 1 month ago
Mr. Power, come on, lighten up.  What could be more Christ-like than the friendship and respect that developed between the king and Mr. Logue!  I believe what Jesus taught us was how to be truly human,  very important to keep in mind,  because it is in our humanity that we discover the divine (we are created in the image of God!) in us.
  Fr. Martin, please correct me if I m heretical here.   Thanks.
david power
8 years 1 month ago
You missed my point.I dont know how but you did. What difference is there between this blog and Rotten Tomatoes?The spiritual imagination of the reader according to your answer. My point was that in your blog entry there is no attempt to show God in all things.You responded by saying that we have Jesus on here all the time. Can an America blogger write about what he had for dinner yesterday or does there have to be some link  ,however tenuos shown between that and the "All things" of the title? When other bloggers here wrote about Rock music and how it affects the soul were they just indulging an optional other?Leading us by the hand to what should have been obvious?.Hope it is clearer what I meant now.Norma nothing could  be more Christ-like than the relationship between the King and Mr Logue.I have resolved to have it placed in the Spiritual Exercises as a point of meditation and at the moment am penning my letter to Fr A.Nicholas.  Also dont worry too much about heresy it often makes people a bit more interesting.


Bill Collier
8 years 1 month ago
I'm also looking forward to seeing this film. Rotten Tomatoes has it at 93% approval among the 60 or so critics' reviews the website has collected. Kenneth Turan of The Los Angeles Times said the following:

"Simultaneously commoner and king, teacher and pupil, iconoclast and underdog, the meeting of the unstoppable force that is Rush's speech therapist and the immovable object that is Firth's future English king is as good as one-on-one acting gets. Both actors completely inhabit their absorbing roles, relishing the opportunity their exchanges provide and adding unlooked-for layers to a complicated human relationship."

As for Harry Forbes' comment that "Firth skillfully makes the tortuous silences between each hard-earned phrase positively squirm-inducing," I heard Colin Firth being interviewed about the role, and he said that the "silences" were exactly what he focused on in bringing the king's stuttering and fear of speaking to life.
8 years 1 month ago
Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle back together again though it is not as a romantic duo though it is funny that Firth's film wife is also named Elizabeth.  I would think a lot of people would pay to see the two again in the same movie.  Firth is a terrific actor.
david power
8 years 1 month ago
che c'entra con Cristo??


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