Wednesday, December 26, 2012

"The King's Speech" (2010)

When I finally got around to watching “The King’s Speech” I was surprised by several things:

First—and I should probably not say that I was surprised in this case—the Academy once again opted for some strange, unknowable reasoning in selecting the Best Picture. They almost always pick “great” films in the sense that they are well done and beautiful, but they are hardly THE film of the year on a scale of importance, historic or impactful. I can think of 8 or possibly 9 films from 2010 that will be mentioned, remembered and rewatched more than this film.

Secondly, I was surprised at how beautiful the ordinary can be. Usually these sorts of films gloss away any normality in the subjects and time that are depicted. Everything is perfectly coordinated. Make-up and focus are perfect and “forgiving.” Here, however, the focus is sharp. The imperfections are all there and even highlighted. Somehow it is still beautiful. That wall behind the couch in Logue’s rooms is incredible. A seeming mess of un-thought-out splashes of paint manages to be something we want to absorb every time it is on screen.

Thirdly, I was amazed at the outcome of the drama. We all know that things are leading up to the King’s most important speech. We are conditioned by our experience of Hollywood to prepare ourselves for the miraculous way in which his impediment will be vanquished, and yet, it isn’t. Yes, he pulls off a good speech, but it is a struggle. It is not perfect.

This is an inspiring story because it shows a man fighting a real battle with himself and his weaknesses and succeeding in his role without completely overcoming. We can be inspired in this story with the knowledge that we can play the role we are meant to play in life in spite of our imperfections. With hard work and effort we can work through our challenges, even if they can’t always be left behind.

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