Introduction to Kings & Queens – Spring Semester


15 thoughts on “January 8

  1. i really connected to this film, as i mentioned in class my boyfriend also suffers from a speech impediment due to lyme disease he contracted from a tick when he was nine. He told me when he was younger that he would be made fun of as was “Bertie” in the film “The Kings Speech”. He’s told me he went through speech therapy classes and from what he’s described the exercises were similar so i was pleased that the film wasn’t a bunch of fluffy inspirational “BS”.

    The acting was amazing and i wasn’t really expecting that since the last film i saw Colin Firth in was Mama Mia!(yikes…) and also not to mention that Geoffrey Rush was Captain Barbossa in Pirates of the Caribbean. I’m glad i finally had time to view it because Colin Firth really portrayed the struggle with words so perfectly, and Rush does have a way about him when he acts and it was definitely the role for him, in my opinion.

    The connection between kings and queens is apparent in this film. Bertie had repeated and mention multiple times his role as prince/king and he used it as a weapon in conversation. Having been raised in royalty he put himself on a pedestal and had the “divine right” mentality. His wife (Helena Bonham Carter) also had the same way about her but she had a “human” feel to her, like she understood the common man and i feel as though that can very well be a role of a royal.

    Bertie did have a temper and it was most likely due to his impediment and how his whole life up until Lionel he felt helpless and forlorn about curing it. This bult up agression is undoubtedly a result of that and the pressure of the throne from his father and brother. I feel that it was displayed very well and in a way i connected with Bertie’s sibling issues and it resonated with me. I too have a sibling that has her own interests that are held to a higher standard than that of anyone including her family.

    I really enjoyed watching this film and will definitly sit the bf down to finally watch it. I am glad that we started the semester with it and it really did resonate with me. (ps- sry about the late response)

  2. The King’s Speech is a fine example of what it takes to be a steadfast and honorable monarch. It takes the idea of a King (and queen) and boils them back down to their roots, establishing what qualities are necessary. Given, the film is an artistic recreation of historical events, but any inaccuracies aside, that interpretation still stands true. Albert is established as a character that is not perfect, stuttering and prone to embarrassment and rage, caused by his frustrating impediment and royal standing. He is entitled, but cannot achieve his full potential due to his speech predicament. He is brought down to a human level by his fear of public speaking. Still, he is shown as a kind and earnest man, humbled and empowered by things such as love, as in the case of his daughters, where he tells them a story almost flawlessly and without fear. It is necessary for a wise and just ruler to have the strength of will and overall fortitude of character to hold ones ground against the world, against forces such as the impending world war, as well as to be able to maintain against the self. A king needs to be a shining example of what a nation (or otherwise group) has to offer, and to provide direction and confidence for his/her people. Albert’s need to gain this strength forces him to stoop down from his respected position and bow to a lesser man, and to open himself up, and thereby weaken himself, to solve a deeply rooted problem. It is this struggle that makes The King’s Speech so enticing.

  3. Esther Chung

    Having never seen this movie in its entirity, The King’s Speech was very enjoyable, particularly on the way it illuminates the many pressures of living in a position of unchosen power. Throughout the film, Prince Albert or “Bertie” struggles underneath the clutches of the country’s expectations, and his inability to articulate himself. As a position of power and royalty, such a figure must act a certain way, and display a sense of propriety and eloquence. Because of King Albert’s stammer, he continuously struggles to earn the respect of his country’s people. However, this is something he begins to overcome throughout the duration of the movie, which becomes truly inspiring.
    The film sheds light on the vulnerability and many insecurities and flaws of someone with such an idealized lifestyle. The King’s Speech is also interesting because it strays from the traditional antagonist/protagonist conflict. The conflict and resolution lies solely within the main character, and adds dimension to a role that is typically shown simply as a political or historical figure from the past.

  4. Camille Chan

    With The King’s Speech we get to see the reluctant rise of Albert to the British throne. The most interesting aspect of the film was the sense of martyrdom that both Albert and Edward felt. Neither had chosen the royal life and, for completely different reasons, neither was eager to step up and fulfill that role.

    The amount of sacrifice that kings and queens have to make is often overlooked. Their lives are dictated and rooted in tradition; their fates are often inescapable. They are prepped and groomed from birth to fulfill their destinies and only when they rise to the throne are they afforded the chance to make some decisions.

    On Albert though, the sense of duty weighed heavily and he became George VI. This crazy turn of events, full with family dramas and affairs probably ended up being the best course for the United Kingdom. For an instant in The King’s Speech we see Winston Churchill warning of the dangers ahead regarding Adolf Hitler. Edward later on was seen as a sympathizer with fascism, and was known to have said quite a few controversial things about World War II and Hitler. Had Edward not abdicated, the future of a democratic Europe was much at risk.

  5. The movie was very interesting. In retrospect from our kings and queens theme, many within history have encountered their power through means of their predecessor giving up their rights. But of course the man character was far from what many envision in a leader. It was clear at the start of the movie that he had issues and was aware of the the situation he was put in. You see the where most of his attributes come from when you see his father giving the Christmas letter.
    Fully aware that his brother does not have the mentality to lead he fears for what may come, which in turn makes things worse for him. He makes the effort to talk to his brother and convince him and better himself at the same time. At his current condition he struggles, and wont make it. But his wife and him together make the effort to visit the doctor and cure his illness.It was wonderful to watch the two grow and become close friends. The connection they both made allowed them to learn from each other. I’m excited to see the rest next class to see if their relationship holds through him becoming king. It has been a very enjoyable movie thus far.

  6. Paulo D. Campos

    I really enjoyed watching this movie because it is so relevant to this course and the many motifs found within. It makes you think about the assumptions and generalizations we make about Kings and Queens and expectations that we have, whether they be realistic or not. In this case, in The King’s Speech, the Duke of York, who is to become King, after his older brother fails to live up to expectations of the monarchy, the Duke of York is thrown into a world of responsibilities that he never expected to happen.
    Although he had been working on his speech impediment since the beginning of the movie, it became something that needed to be rectified more than before, as he was to be addressing the nation, and more, more often than ever before. I definitely enjoyed how historically accurate everything was, acting was marvelous, and last but not east, anything with Helena Bonham Carter will get a standing ovation from me.

  7. This film tells the story of a man and his obstacles of addressing the world. This man just happens to become the King of England. His hardships of being a prince of England and possessing a stammer that tormented much of his life are what sculpt him into the man he becomes. It has been said that the average person fears public speaking more than death. I could only imagine how it would be like if I had a stammer.
    Prince Albert or “Bertie”, the main character was always inferior, being the youngest son of the King. His older brother would one day grow to be king, so Bertie knew he would not have as many responsibilities. Still, he had to fulfill his duties as a prince. The prince bombed any speech he made and clearly needed help. His wife Elizabeth searched everywhere for the best speech therapists but no luck until she met Lionel Logue, a self-taught Australian speech therapist. Bertie at first did not trust Lionel until he conducted an experiment by playing loud music and having him read Hamlet. The results were superb. No stammer.
    When Bertie’s father dies, he dies without any hope. His eldest son is in love with an American divorcee, something that is exretemely frowned upon and they are on the brink of another world war. When his brother renounces the thrown in 1936, Bertie is forced to be king. He at first believes he is not fit to be king due to his disabilities but he soon overcomes his stammer in preparation for his speech. Even a king needs help and even a king must search for his own voice.

  8. C Zulakis
    The King’s Speech was definitely deserving of the various awards given to it shortly after its release. Its surprising that such an interesting story was limited to only having two movies made of it, one being a made for tv film and the other of course being The King’s Speech. One thing I found interesting about the film is that David, aka Edward, Prince of Wales, played brilliantly by Guy Pearce, was seen as an incredibly irresponsible king who would ruin England and cared for nothing but his soon to be wife. Normally in these kind of glamorized Hollywood adaptations of royalty, the royal figure who decides to change things and choose not to be restrained by years of tradition and etiquette is portrayed as kind of the righteous free spirit hero or protagonist, but in the King’s Speech he is an example of what should happen if the Duke of York fails. He was letting go of his responsibilities in a time when the people really needed him. Colin Firth’s portrayal of a scared, soon to be king, forced to solve all of the problems thrust into his face since early childhood and beyond is spot on. He brings a sense of realism to his part that isn’t usually seen in stories about kings and princes. It makes him easy to relate to when the rest of us are in a world where responsibility weighs down heavily on us all as we progress into adulthood. Its definitely one of the most inspirational stories about royalty in a time when hollywood is typically bombarded with period pieces about corruption and madness. Prince Albert’s story really forces a new perspective.

  9. I absolutely had no idea what this movie was about until a few more characters were introduced and I understood the gist of the plot. This movie is very entertaining in a sense it has popular actors we still see today in modern films, and it has a sense of “realness” (despite it being about an actual King) with what King George has to go through, with his stuttering and speech problems. I can imagine many people like the doctor’s youngest son who stuttered when he first talked to King George and his wife before they were let into the room can relate to someone as “high up” like the King himself.

    The acting is superb; it is really believable and the actors do a great job in bringing out each of their character’s personalities. The cinematography is excellent as well. What strikes me about this movie is how royalty, despite all the glamour, the country-wide acknowledgement, wealth, etc. they are human just like any other person and anyone in their country. The stuttering that King George possesses isn’t just limited to him, but it affects many other people as well. This also brings the topic of how even royalty has to overcome many obstacles, just like any other person – no matter how big or small it may be. Everyone has to overcome something in order to achieve something greater – a job opportunity, friendship, family problems, academics, and the list goes on.

    I really like this movie for its “in depth” perspective of how a king overcomes his problems and by showing that, it makes viewers understand a person of high standard can be easily be equal-footed with everyday people.

  10. I remember when this movie first came out, my friend, a movie buff, was raving on and on about how good it was. I never had the chance to see it until now, and now I understand why he enjoyed it so much. I had no idea what it supposed to be about, but the idea came to me during the viewing in class.

    Last semester, the class learned that whether a royal or metaphorical king/queen, presentation of self is part of how they become to be a king or queen. “The King’s Speech” did not fail to express this fact. The film puts emphasis that people of power, in order to be taken seriously and respected, must present themselves in every way possible as a figure of high standing, including way of speech. The main character, King George VI gave a speech at the beginning at the film to an audience that had been anticipating and anxiously looking forward to.To his misfortune, he stuttered so terribly that his audience gradually lost interest in his words, even if he was their king of England. He knew his stuttering impediment may cause his people to lose faith in him as a leader. He soon seeks help from Lionel Logue.
    As a king, the presentation of self is so important that King George is hesistant to try many of Lionel’s suggestions, as this involves him breaking his character as a King. During one of the exercises, Lionel tells King George to curse and swear. He does, but also states that it was a side of him that he was “not supposed” to show. Earlier, he is also hesitant to try improving at all, as it would have to involve his personal life and descending from his rank of king to the equal rank to Lionel, a regular man. In order to cure himself of his impediment, King George must forget his status and become what everyone else is around him: a regular human being; bound to make mistakes and is imperfect.

    From “The Kings’ Speech”, we can learn that a king can simply be great because he has overcome one simple imperfection over a rigorous struggle.

  11. Sarah Scafid
    Words About the King’s Speech
    This movie was beautifully composed and refreshing. The acting was superb especially the actor who played King George to have to go the stammer and always the choking over words, that is challenging to make it believable. By far the best movie we watched during this class.

    Last semester, we discussed many types and traits of kings and queens. Most of them were born into the position of kings and queens. King George reminded me about Queen Elizabeth with her struggle and need to become the icon of England to be there for her people. The Duke of York, Albert, saw his brother making awful choices and wasn’t thinking what was best for England so he stepped up to the plate. He knew a king had to think more of his people than having his selfishness get in the way. A king must stand tall and be the guiding light for his people during the darkness hour. That is one of the reasons people tend to look up to monarchs or world leaders because they came bring hope into the hearts of the defeated.

    When we think about kings and queens sometimes glamour comes to ones mind. We forget that these people raised on pedestals are actually humans and have obstacles to face like ordinary folks. King George the 6th had to overcome his stammer. This was quite difficult because he had this stammer for most of his life and was caused great embarrassment from it. Sometimes it is even difficult to accept help from others simply because of foolish pride or negative thinking that nothing would change. When one accepts the help from others than there is a greater chance something can change for better.Who would have guessed that out of all the doctors in the world a mere failed Australian actor would know how to aid the Duke with his stammer. King George the 6th needed to step up for England and himself. He became truly a king once he gave his speech because he overcome his greatest challenge which he had all of his life. He was there as the leader and voice for England during a great time of chaos.

  12. Lichen
    The struggles and personality of each character puts everyone on the same level regardless of class and titles. At the beginning of the movie, we see the eager crowd anticipating King George’s message and become awkward at his failure to speak. We expect kings and queens with all their privileges to have more ability than the average person and this film portrays the personal life and struggles of the great kings and queens in comparison to everyone else. So far, Lionel’s character and his family portray such a beautiful life of a normal civilian. He is a kind man and lives a simple, creative, and calm life with quiet accomplishments ans struggles. In comparison with King George, Lionel’s days seem much more serene and glamorous. In this film, the glory and wealth we often expect of kings and queens is dominated by actual struggles and responsibilities that question our priorities. It questions the importance we place on being able to play a role in society compared to the qualities that make a good person. Because of social pressure especially for important public figures, we are less forgiving when our kings and queens make mistakes. Fear is a powerful influence that governs our decisions and intensifies when we think others are going to be judgmental. For these powerful individuals leading society, we are so quick to judge their ability, often being dismissive of them being just a normal person. Their titles separate them and it makes them easier targets for society to place blame and criticize. In this film, by seeing different classes and their families and children, the common characteristics that portray the good side of all people is emphasized and that it is unjust for people to criticize unfairly or be cruel.
    The kings and queens that are relevant today earned their title by overcoming obstacles and struggles. Compared to the majority, the major figures we remember and look up to demonstrated an admirable ability and skill that is unattainable by most people. By seeing their success and learning their struggles makes our daily problems seem trivial. The titles of kings and queens (even if born into a royal family) are better recognized in society if they overcame struggles and set good examples.

  13. I thought the film was amazing. It showed one man’s journey from being the Duke of York to becoming a great king. There’s so much more than that. It also shows how someone could over come their fears. For instance, the film starts with George VI trying to deal with his speech impediment. After many failed attempts, his wife tells that she has a speech therapist, Lionel Logue, that is unlike the others. Meaning, Logue (Geoffrey Rush) doesn’t just want to fix the surface problems, he wants to fix the problems that exist from with in. Of Course, George doesn’t really let him in at first. But slowly, he tells Logue his problems. His relationship with his father, King George V and his brother, Edward VIII. During his brother’s short reign, it becomes clear to George that Edward is not fit to lead England because he worries about himself than he does about the country and with World War II inching closer, the British Government realizes that they need a king that they could stand behind. Edward abdicates and George becomes king. I think this move frighted him. He only knew what he knew from the life he had before and to suddenly have this new life forced on him, it’s very terrifying. He felt that he could not make a good king, but Logue was the first person to think that George be a great king. In that moment he realizes that he can lead the country, just because of his friendship with Logue. At the same time, he deals with his speech problem and over comes it. The film was uplifting but the story is inspiring. It’s inspiring because you can overcome an problem if you have the will and the guidance to do it. You become someone great.

  14. Andrew DeVito
    Response to The Kings Speech

    This film is an amazing story that transcends the idealistic and tired forms of the isolation of royal families. King George VI moves swiftly onto the throne without much formal preparation. His defects lead to his overall success as an accomplished leader willing to follow through with the trials that will eventually be laid before him. The story solidifies the connections of a modern king, meaning a leader that is willing to comply with his common people for the benefit of either himself or his country. His speech impediment is the root of his triumph, the greatest factor behind the story is that when somebody embraces their defects, especially a king, they are then capable of refreshing their lifestyle or in this case their public appearance. The overall “cure” for George’s impediment is deep relaxation and the curbing of his inner anxieties and furious angers. As he learns to dampen his stammer, he is capable of the realization that he is capable of leading his country. The ability to speak properly is not nearly the goal that (Geoffrey Rush) is trying to instill in the king, he is also enlightening his pent up attitude and sort of bringing him back down to earth. Without the ability to control ones emotions, how can one expect to lead a country on the brink of another world war? It is the simple realization that connecting with others on the most natural of levels and connecting with ones own emotions can change the outlook of your life and your reason for existence. Regardless of your social status, simply embracing a solution laid in front of you can change your own life as well as the lives around you.

  15. Adrian Mosby
    The Kings Speech movie –
    The film was pretty good, the main character is likeable but not perfect, he has a temper which clearly came from his father and you can easily see how he got to be how he is, how he was oppressed in the shadow of these powerful men that came before him. This is especially clear in the room with all the paintings of the royal kings, imposing upon him their greatness.
    As a protagonist he develops well and at a balanced pace, he has his ups and downs, and from a directing standpoint I liked a lot of the metaphors with the imagery and lighting. Things were set up early and paid of later on so plot points didn’t come way out of left field, like Mrs. Simpson, we hear about her briefly and later on her relationship with the Guy Pearce causes a lot of trouble that forces George to step up and become a king. Forcing him to deal with the speech problem he may other wise avoid and just live with, in other words forcing the plot forward to a conclusion. I think it is very well written and well directed. So far the best movie we’ve watched in this class, but when we have Orlando and Macbeth to compare it too- hardly means much. Still an excellent movie.

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