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The Plot: In 1930’s England, King George VI (Colin Firth) was not expected to be King. The younger son of King George V (Michael Gambon), George, who is known intimately as Bertie, has lived with a stutter his whole life. Speaking in public is not his favorite pastime. When Bertie’s older brother Edward (Guy Pearce), abdicates the throne to marry an American divorcee, Wallis Simpson, Bertie is on his way to become King. The problem is that his confidence is shaken by his stutter. Bertie’s wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) has sought out several therapists to help her husband. All have failed. Finally, she finds Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) an Australian therapist with some unorthodox views and techniques to help his patients speak clearly. Bertie reluctantly agrees to meet with Lionel, but does not easily go along with Lionel’s ideas.
Bertie confronts Lionel about his lack of professional qualifications.
Why It Matters: It matters because we have moments in our lives when we lack confidence. Bertie soon will be crowned King, but his confidence is very low. The stammering comes back with a vengeance. Instead of being a cheerleader, Lionel continues with his unorthodox treatment. Through Lionel’s nagging, Bertie finds his voice and his strength.
I love this film because it shows that humanity and the flaws that we struggle with are universal traits. Regardless of whether one is a king or a commoner, we all struggle with something. It is Bertie’s struggle that makes him human and makes the audience connect with him on a universal level.
David Seidler (screenplay)