The King’s Speech (2010)




Screenwriter-hackmeister David Seidler’s script: Pygmalion meets Dr. Oz. (Maybe a fitting legacy for Shaw.)

The thing is, the King talks funny.

It’s a drama of speech impediment. On any level, including that of kings, speech impediment calls more for compassion than for drama.

So: it’s Henry Higgins post lobotomy. And there’s no Audrey Hepburn. Let alone Lerner and Lowe. AND: The damn thing actually runs for 118 minutes. And in several places it meanders away from the trivial speech-therapy situation. Even that could have been a good thing, but it isn’t.

The movie is almost as scenically shadowy and dark as Seven. That prevailing atmosphere wonderfully unifies Seven. I’m guessing it was an accident in The King’s Speech.

The King’s Speech tries to wrap its drivel in the British flag in perilous Hitlerian times, especially at the end of Seidler’s contemporaneously formulaic air sandwich.

That formula?  Victimology + Cinder(f)ella = strong bathos currents.

Grander version of formula: Princess Diana + whatshisname and whatshername about to feature in yet another Royal Wedding (CNN apparently has had many, many people in London for weeks getting the “coverage” ready, which means we have another giant bathos tsunami bearing down).

Probably the closest we come to truth in The King’s Speech is during an aside when Churchill asks Prince Albert’s wife (played by Helena Bonham-Carter) of Wallis Simpson, “What’s her hold on (the King)?” and is answered discreetly but accurately. (Would Churchill likely have been in such suspense? Well, nevertheless, Seidler should have made that exchange one between Churchill and Somerset Maugham. If there’s no serious attempt to be historical, why not? [Oh, that’s right. Who is Somerset Maugham?].)

This one’s right up there with The Queen.

If need be, schedule a root canal.