“The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.” ~ Thucydides
“Take this movie, and call me in the morning.”
Someday there may be doctors who offer a dose of movies for good health. Positive, uplifting films, I’m talking about. Like Oscar-nominated The King’s Speech.
Yes, “take this movie, and call me in the morning.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a doctor tell you that?
Well, I’m not a doctor, but I am an advocate of good movies — films with a message, or anything that may be classified as spiritual cinema, i.e. cinema for the soul.
The King’s Speech tops that category for me this year. We finally saw the film; ironically it was when President Barack Obama was to give the State of the Union address. When you think of speeches in that context, a speech — how it’s delivered, what it relates, how it’s received – can be monumental in the grand scheme of history.
The beautiful acting of Colin Firth as Albert, Duke of York (King George VI), Helena Bonham Carter as his wife, and Geoffrey Rush as speech therapist Lionel Logue, kept me glued to my seat. By the time we left the theatre, I was ready to gush over this film, to anyone who’d listen. I certainly saw Oscar mania on the horizon; the film is nominated for 12, including Best Picture.
Even before the nominations, I was convinced that this film could become a classic. I asked around, and those who’ve seen it usually exclaim, “Fantastic!” My friend, Jeanne McKowen, said, “I definitely agree. The King’s Speech most certainly is a fantastic film. The acting is superb!” Like me, she was ready to dismiss the film at first, until word of mouth got to both of us.
You could say that the film was prescribed to us, in a roundabout sort of way. As for me, I’d heard rumblings of a new film with the simple title: The King’s Speech. But that’s as far as it went. What could possibly be a good, or fun, movie about a king and his speech? That thought flitted briefly through my mind, like a butterfly curious about a flower, but never landing.
But then, hometown actor and filmmaker Christopher Showerman (now living in Los Angeles acting, filming and keeping tabs on new good movies) posted a message at Christmastime on his website forum: “I’ll admit that it’s not my typical cinema fare (no explosions or giant robot monsters) but I needed to watch it so I could vote on it for the SAG awards coming up. I am happy to report it is my favorite movie this year. … This movie was awesome, in its direction, performance and message.”
My friend Dave Wahr, who’s active in community theatre, loves movies, and is my go-to film critic, saw the same posting, and recently took the nudge to see the film. Dave concurred: “This is an amazing film. Just looking at the description, you have to think that it would be pretty dry and dull – but not only does it show how strong friendship can be and how it can occur even in the most unlikely of circumstances, it provides, to me at least, a new understanding of the pressure the ‘royals’ are under, and of what so many people went through during WWII (in a way we Americans cannot appreciate fully in my opinion, since our homes were not bombed during the war).”
What Dave is referring to is about the premise of the film, a story about King George VI, the pressure of being King of England during a world crisis, and the uncommon friendship between him and Lionel Logue, his speech therapist. You really have to see the film, to appreciate the power of this story.
“It’s a powerful message,” says Showerman, “based on a true story about overcoming fears and setbacks, surrendering ego to relationships, and the teachers and mentors upon whose shoulders we all stand.”
This is the same feeling I had when immersed within the story of The King’s Speech. I thought of all the teachers and mentors who’ve influenced me during my lifetime. I wondered what my life would be like, had they not been in it.
Besides, who wouldn’t wish to be blessed by having a mentor in their life like Lionel Logue? Yes, King George didn’t know it, but he was way ahead of his time. Nowadays, it’s very 21st Century to have a life coach in your life. The ultimate trust these two men obviously had in each other, speaks volumes to the power of such relationships.
The back story to this film is as interesting as the film. For one thing, it’s amazing to think that it’s based on real people, and a real historical situation in the history of England. And to think that Queen Elizabeth II, who was a child at the time this story took place, gave it two thumbs up.
Said screenwriter David Seidler, in a Jan. 26 Associated Press article, “To learn Her Majesty has seen the film, and was moved, in turn moves and humbles me greatly. When, thirty years ago, the Queen Mother asked me to wait and not tell this story during her lifetime, because the memory of these events was still too painful, I realized the depths of the emotions involved. Now this story has been written and filmed with a great deal of love, admiration, and respect for Her Majesty’s father. That Her Majesty has responded favorably to this, is wonderfully gratifying.”
I would tell people to go see this film simply to get a feeling for the power of the teachers in your life. It’s an opportunity to think of them. It can be a wakeup call, to be in gratitude for those who have believed in you, who’ve helped you keep from giving up, and have spurred you on to discover in you the potential you might not have discovered otherwise.
In the above quoted Associated Press article, screenwriter Seidler, who grew up with a stammer, was heartened by the reaction of young people, leery of a historical film, who “end up absolutely loving it and wanting to see it again, because they understand the emotions of being teased, being bullied, being marginalized, and they really understand the power of a supportive friendship.”
You’ll feel so good when you leave the theatre, you’ll want to go out, roll up your sleeves, and get to working on all your relationships. Enjoy those you have that are working well; mend those that you feel might have gone by the wayside. When you see how beautiful is this lifelong friendship of Lionel and the King, you begin to understand that all things are possible in the realm of our relationships.
Yes, if movies were prescribed — if I could prescribe a must-see movie for you this year, it would be The King’s Speech. Picture that you have a prescription slip in your hand, signed by me: “Take this fantastic film, and call me in the morning.”
King’s Speech movie links: all you ever wanted to know, and then some
Wall Street Journal: “The King’s Speech” is one of the most pleasurable movies to come along in years