Monday, February 28, 2011

Movie Review: The King’s Speech & Articulating the Cause of Freedom

From Libertas Film Magazine:
"There is one scene that communicates this idea especially well. Albert has just been crowned George VI in Westminster Abbey in May of 1937 and is watching the newsreels after the ceremony with his family. As the film switches to a newsreel of Hitler giving a speech in Germany, the projectionist moves to turn it off, but the king insists that it be kept on so he can watch it.

He and the royal family watch in dismay as Hitler harangues a massive crowd in fluent, inflammatory rhetoric that is met with enthusiastic cheers. The newsreel ends, and the young Princess Elizabeth asks the king what Hitler was saying. The king replies: “I don’t know, but he seems to be saying it rather well.”

The implication is clear: Hitler, the evil tyrant who will soon plunge the world into war, is verbally adept and is able to use modern methods of mass communication – microphones to address huge rallies, radio and film reels to broadcast his words to the world – to persuade the German public to follow him down a nihilistic path of death and destruction.

The only people who can challenge him will be the democratically-elected leaders of the world – and such symbolic figures as the royal families of Europe – who, although they hold no real power, must be able to speak persuasively to the public in order to remind them of their own humanistic traditions and inspire the public to defend freedom and life."
Please read the rest of this engaging Libertas review here.

On a personal note, I thought Geoffrey Rush was brilliant as the King's unorthodox speech therapist. I am, however, disappointed the movie was rated "R", but it is such for a good reason: an uncomfortably funny scene laden with profanities during one of the King's therapy sessions. Yet surely such a rich production by eminently talented people could have found a way to convey that frustrated cursing less graphically, and thereby be tagged with a PG-13 rating, in order to reach a much wider audience in need of this outstanding film's greater message of "articulating the cause of freedom."

Perhaps an intransigent Hollywood simply cannot help itself.

Sunday night, the King's Speech won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay (David Seidler), Best Director (Tom Hooper), and Best Actor (Colin Firth).
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