The King’s Speech – Movie Review

The King’s Speech—Movie Review

Review by Stacey Tuttle

Even if you’ve only seen the preview, you are bound to have seen the scene where Colin Firth playing a stuttering King George VI yells out to Lionel Logue, his speech therapist, (played by Geoffrey Rush) to get out of the chair….here is the dialogue: 

King George VI: [Logue is sitting on the coronation throne] Get up! Y-you can’t sit there! GET UP!
Lionel Logue: Why not? It’s a chair.
King George VI: T-that… that is Saint Edward’s chair.
Lionel Logue: People have carved their names on it.
King George VI: L-listen to me… listen to me!
Lionel Logue: Why should I waste my time listening to you?
King George VI: Because I have a voice!
Lionel Logue: …yes, you do.

“I have a voice!”  It’s a powerful statement even if you don’t know how it fits into the story.  When you put it in context, it is even more so.  The movie centers around the King’s uncertainty about his voice—not just his literal voice because of his rather severe stammer, but also his figurative voice, his ability to lead and speak for (on behalf of) the nation.

It is as he is getting ready for his coronation, ready or not, that he and Lionel Logue have this confrontation.  And it is in this confrontation that he finally realizes and claims his right to lead his people. 

But what right did he have to lead the nation of England?  He wasn’t elected King.  He wasn’t chosen by the people.  He wasn’t even chosen by birth exactly—he was the second born male.  His older brother was supposed to be King, but his older brother refused his responsibility leaving him with the task and the burden of assuming the throne. 

Isn’t it interesting?  Neither he nor his brother actually wanted the responsibility.  We tend to think it would be so exciting and glamorous to be King (or Queen).  We think we would like to have that kind of platform and fame.  We would like to have others listening to what we say, wouldn’t we?  In the internet age, everyone has a voice.  We are all bloggers.  We are all espousing our opinions to any and all who will listen.  There was a time when writers had earned the right to be heard in some way or another.  They had a publisher or an editor who deemed their voice valuable and worthy.  They were an expert in some particular field or had a talent for communicating.  Not anymore.  Nowadays anyone can have a platform and a following…and a voice—no matter how untalented, ignorant and unworthy they are of it.

King George VI, Bertie, felt the weight of the responsibility before him.  But he felt more than that.  He also struggled with the question of why.  Why was he any more worthy to speak for the nation than any other man.  What made his voice worthy to be heard?  How did he know his opinion was valuable?

Maybe this isn’t such a bad question for us to ask ourselves as well.  What makes our opinions good ones?  Who says our thoughts and opinions are valuable and worth repeating?

For King George, it seems to me, his answer comes in the simple fact that it is the position he has been placed in, through no act of his own.  He didn’t choose his position, but he did choose to live up to it.  It is a humble acknowledgement that, like it or not, he IS the voice of England.  And he therefore chooses to walk in that authority.

But what about you?  And what about me? 

I don’t know what position you may find yourself in.  But, if you are a Christian we can at least answer the question of what makes your opinions worthy pretty simply. 

When Jesus was on the earth, he made it clear that he only did or spoke what God the Father gave to him to do or say.  In John 12:49-50 Jesus says, “For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken.  I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”  Jesus, who was fully God and surely had some good things to say chose to say nothing but what he got from His Father.  Why?  Because He knew that God’s commands lead to eternal life.  Surely, there is nothing higher or better we can say than that which leads others to eternal life!

So, fellow Christian, your opinions will never be more valuable or more worth hearing/sharing than when they are based on God’s word.  It’s not your opinions that count.  It’s God’s opinions.    I Peter 4:11 puts it this way, “If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God…, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 

In I Corinthians chapter 2 Paul talks about this very thing.  He makes a disclaimer that he set aside his own human, earthly wisdom and instead chose to speak with the wisdom of God as given to him by the Holy Spirit.   “When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified…This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit” (vs. 1-2, 13).

So yes, you have a voice.  But it isn’t because you have a blog and a litany of readers.  It isn’t because you are a well-renowned speaker.  It isn’t because you are an expert in your field.  It isn’t because you are in a position of leadership.  Your voice, if you are a Christian, comes from something so much bigger, so much more significant and so much more eternal than any of those lesser claims.  Your voice comes from very Word of God and his Holy Spirit who instructs you in what to say. 

Questions for Discussion:

  • What do you think about our internet age where anyone and everyone has a voice?  What do you think are the pros and cons to this?
  • Have you ever been in a position where you wondered why you were chosen to lead? Where you questioned what made you any more deserving of that particular position than another?  Or even worse, where you felt that someone under you was more qualified or had more right to your position than you did?
  • Do you know people who really do seem to mostly speak with the authority of God and the words of God?
  •  Do you feel that your opinions are worthwhile because they are your own?  Or do you value the opinions of God over your own?
  • By what right do you think you have a voice?