The King’s Speech: a stammering success

Public speaking: it’s something we’re all forced to do at some point in our lives, whether it be in a business pitch, in front of a classroom or a large assembly hall. Personally it’s not my favourite activity, and I remember a time where I used to get so nervous I thought my presentations were unintelligible garbage. With time and practice I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve grown to be a lot more comfortable with it.

Imagine now, if you’re public figure who doesn’t mind being in front of large crowds, but no matter what you do, you’re unable to get what’s on the sheet in front of you out of your mouth properly, because you have a speech impediment. That’s something King George VI had to deal with all his life.

In The King’s Speech, Colin Firth plays King George VI and it tells the story of his stammer as he was put at the head of the United Kingdom. Desperate to find an answer to their problems, his wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) finds an unorthodox speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). The King and Logue were of different personalities and had many issues, but eventually the two became partners in working around the issue.

The next time you’re in a presentation and you’re feeling nerves, just be grateful that you can actually speak, because you could be saddled with a much more debilitating issue like King George VI was.

The King’s Speech was an award winning movie in my books, and both Rush and Firth are deserving of accolades as well. I give the 5/5, but I was tempted to take off a half-point simply for the miscasting of Timothy Spall as Winston Churchill. I couldn’t help but seeing him as his character Peter Pettigrew from the Harry Potter movies.

Here’s the actual King’s Speech from George VI himself, for your listening pleasure. It’s amazing how Firth nailed it:

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