January 12, 2011 Leave a comment
Colin Firth has captured the mixture of anxiety, frustration, fear, and shame faced by stammerers superbly in this film. You can see the dread in the lines of his face as Bertie coldly looks at the microphone in the film’s opening sequence at Wembley stadium. I am so glad that stammering has been portrayed in this film not as a joke but as a serious impediment. Some of the scenes were truly painful to watch..a feeling shared by many other stammerers who have seen the film I’m sure.
Stammering is not talked about much in the public sphere…because well, that would involve talking! It’s been fantastic to hear radio phone-ins and TV features focussing on the issue as a result of this film. However The King’s Speech is much more than a single-issue vehicle. The script, and particularly the cast are sublime in every frame. I got the feeling the cast relished playing such well-known characters.
There was a great deal of humour in the relationship between the Australian actor Logue and the King, as techniques were taught to manage his stammer (another strength of the story was that he was never “cured”). Over time I have incorporated more ticks, tricks, and runs to the way I talk in order to get certain words out than I probably even realise now, and it was reassuring to see some of those (at times toe-curlingly embarrassing!) methods being tried out here.
The stammer I have grown up with has been a serious challenge to my confidence, especially in public, but many others have it far far worse. I hope that The King’s Speech, and the accolades it will doubtless receive this year, can increase understanding and awareness of stammering, to treat it as more than just a quirky joke.