A peach of a Speech
|By James Sanford|
Inspirational message comes through clearly in first-rate dramaThe term "the kings speech" implies perfect pronunciation and exemplary deportment, the hallmarks of a masterful speaker who couldnt be more comfortable with the intricacies of English. The man at the center of director Tom Hoopers "The Kings Speech," however, is terrified of the sound of his own voice. Instead of demonstrating his mastery of the language, he massacres word after word, chopping them up, dragging them out and rendering them almost unintelligible.
If its difficult to listen to, its visibly painful for the speaker: Prince Albert, the Duke of York (Colin Firth), the son of the king of England. He looks every inch the regal, aristocratic figurehead, until he opens his mouth. His voice is bold but broken, thanks to a persistent stutter that causes certain syllables to catch in his throat or stick on his tongue. When this happens, the dukes face freezes up in frustrated agony; a speech impediment is enough of a challenge, but he has the added burden of being a public figure. No wonder when he walks to a microphone to address an audience, he moves as if he was on his way to face a firing squad.
The way Firth taps into the turbulent emotional storm raging inside the duke is wonderful to watch. Fearful, furious and humiliatingly helpless, the duke has resigned himself to lurk in the long shadows cast by his older brother, King Edward VIII (Guy Pearce), and his dismissive father, King George V (Michael Gambon), who thinks the quickest way to set someone at ease is to shout at them to "relax!"
"In here, its better if were equals," Logue blithely tells a distrustful duke. "My castle, my rules."
The therapy sessions — and the ongoing tug-of-war
The Kings Speech
opens Saturday, Dec. 25 at Celebration!Cinema Lansing and NCG Eastwood www.celebrationcinema.com www.ncgmovies.com