January 01, 2011

Everybody needs a little inspiration.

"Theophilus Thistle, the successful thistle sifte,
Is sifting a sieve of unsifted thistles."

If the above tongue-twister doesn't ring a bell, then you had best run, not walk to see "The King's Speech." I saw it today, and it is hands-down one of my favorite movies of the year.

Ostensibly, it is about King George VI (I know, I know, Charles, the Tecks, a rum lot) and his efforts to overcome a debilitating stammer with the help of an unconventional speech therapist (played by Geoffrey Rush, brilliant as always). However, like all great movies, its emotional tentacles stretch much deeper.

"The King's Speech" is about bravery, perseverance, and forging ahead despite crippling fear. It is about faith. It is about friendship. It is about family. In addition, it is about the challenges of being human.

Colin Firth plays the reluctant monarch; both heartbreaking and inspiring (cue "Best Actor" nomination.)

Visually, the film is a wonder for design nerds like me. Apparently, they were restricted to a pauperish budget, but trust me, you will never know it.

Men, do you covet George VI's slim-cut elegance? It is Henry Poole & Co., still operating today. Is it not amazing to think that all these years later you can have a bespoke suit made by the same Taylor? His patterns are probably still in the back somewhere.

The quiet power of "The King's Speech" continues to reverberate long after you leave the theater. Even now as I write this, Rudyard Kipling's famous poem "If" has lodged itself in my brain and I cannot help wondering if it held any personal significance for George VI. Published in 1910 and so he certainly knew it. Below, a stanza that fits his situation perfectly:

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

Interesting Tidbit: One of the strategies Lionel Logue taught George VI was that if he encountered words beginning with a challenging consonant, he should try to "hop up" onto them (e.g. to say "a-pledge" instead of "pledge", "a-way" instead of "way" and so on). Listen carefully to his speech and you can hear him use these little tricks.


1 comment:

Charles said...

Fine movie Ms. Edna,
NO credit for this goes to
Her Serene Highness of W├╝rttemberg.