Anglofiles; wives trying to get out of seeing “Tron” with their husbands; speech therapists; thespians; and anyone who has ever been known as a stutterer will more than likely have a deep appreciation for “The King’s Speech” which is flooding mega-theaters around the world as I type.
“The King’s Speech” centers around King George, the VI, and his quest to enunciate properly so that he can address the people of England without stuttering and stammering his way through a speech. In the start of the film, his wife finds him a “doctor”—who is in actuality a failed Aussie thespian—to work with the King to help him with his elocution in secret. The thespian is not really a charlatan---he knows what he’s doing—but uses his cockiness to pull him through as he assists the King to be.
“The King’s Speech” has already been nominated for several Golden Globe nominations and as I overheard one movie-goer observe, already has Oscar written all over it. This is perhaps a bit because Americans always love films about England, a bit because the film is truly inspirational (always important to the Academy), and honestly because the acting was superb throughout the film.
As the film progressed, and it became increasingly likely that George, the VI would become the King, it was easy to empathize with his fear of taking the throne and to understand the differences between a power-hungry monarch (like many historical figures) and one who is content (and hoping) to remain in the shadows throughout his lifetime. Because the movie is set in the 30’s, the impending threat of war is never far from his mind and the truly unusual way in which he became King---his brother stepped down to marry a twice-divorced American—is in his thoughts as well.
The friendship between the future King and the thespian is definitely unusual- they are on a nickname basis. (I gather it’s uncommon for monarchs to allow mere commoners to call them by their first names, let alone by their nicknames.) The thespian is also pretty bold with the monarch, which could be because of his Australian background or maybe just because of the boldness necessary for his line of work. Either way, the thespian turned speech therapist who calls himself a doctor pretty much takes away the strict guidelines for relating to the aristocracy and gives the future King what must be rare for a person of his stature: friendship.