a film review
Back on May 5th, well after this film won four Oscars at the Academy Awards, I went to see this upbeat flick at the dollar movies with keen anticipation. I came away from the theater later, with all my suspicions well supported. I made my decision to go see it based on what I had heard from a few friends and what was implied on the awards night. All the accolades were true.
Based on the book written about the current British Queen’s parents, titled Find Your Voice, it’s the story of King George VI’s succession to the throne after his brother, Edward VIII, abdicated to marry his divorcée girlfriend Walli Simpson in 1936. This created a precarious situation for Bertie (his family’s nickname) because it put him in the position of speaking publicly in spite of a lifelong problem of stuttering and a resulting inferiority complex in the bargain. His search for and discovery of a prodigious speech therapist by the name of Lionel Logue is timely, saving him from embarrassing the monarchy- past, present and future. This story is not without a trial all on it’s own. The King’s frustration level with his problem had made him as difficult a person to deal with as his father. Nevertheless, Lionel, brilliantly portrayed by Geoffrey Rush, solves Bertie’s problem sensitively but in a forthright manner making this film a delight with their characters put to a supreme test. The conclusion ultimately leads to the success of a crucial speech made by King George VI during WWII.
The message is one which is a favorite among the British who have made an entire culture as a study in how to deal effectively with difficult people. Watching this film epitomizes this aptitude among the professionals or those who make a professional life in spite of lack of education. At some point in the story, Lionel is exposed by one of the King’s courtiers as not having the proper credentials to carry out the work he is doing with Albert (the King’s real given name) and it creates a rift at first which is sidestepped and forgiven once the King sees the progress he is making despite his own adversity to his problems.
Not to diminish any actors of this film I would also say that surprise performances were given by others such as Claire Bloom as Queen Mary- and I very nearly didn’t recognize her- or Timothy Spall as Winston Churchill who was sheer genius in his part. Helena Bonham Carter as a young Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (the Queen Mother not so long ago!) with her very proper little princesses ( who were also very much Daddy’s little girls) was a great support to Geoffrey Rush’s stellar performance as a young King struggling to defeat his frailties.
I highly recommend this movie to anyone who has great ambitions but may feel that their aspirations are unattainable. This story would give anyone a second wind to try again. You will certainly never think about royalty in the same way again.
With a royal flush and a little blush,
The Castle Lady