Log Line

An heir to the British throne attempts to overcome a lifelong speech impediment so that he can perform his royal duties as leader of his people.

Overview

Medium: Film

Writer(s): David Seidler

Director(s): Tom Hooper

Production Co.(s): The Weinstein Company, UK Film Council, More...

In The King's Speech, the main character, Albert (officially Albert Frederick Arthur George), finds himself confronted with a peculiar problem—that of being a royal whose official duties demand a talent for which he is not at all suited, owing to a personal impediment. As the younger adult son of King George V, reigning British monarch in the early 1900s, Albert is called upon occasionally to speak at public events; however, a stutter that has dogged him from his youth makes it exceptionally difficult for him to do so. And the training that he has received over the years from conventional, credentialed therapists has not helped him overcome his tendency to stutter.

When it becomes apparent that the stuttering is hindering Albert from performing his royal duties, and will only become more deeply problematic as he takes on greater responsibilities, his wife, Elizabeth, seeks help from an unconventional London speech therapist, Lionel Logue, whose methods are derived more from personal experience working with shell-shocked World War I veterans in his native Australia than they are from formal education. And the story chronicles the joint effort of Lionel and Albert to solve the stuttering problem.

Lionel's attempts to cure Albert run the gamut from recording Albert reading Shakespeare aloud while listening through headphones to orchestral music... to having Albert sing and shout swear words... to provoking Albert to share intimate details about his youth and feelings about his life, family, and major concerns. And it this latter course that proves the most promising for solving the underlying problem of the stuttering at its deepest roots—and also serves to form a hard-earned bond of friendship between the patient and therapist.

Albert's quest to overcome his speech impediment is complicated, in part, by both family dynamics and the era in which he lives. His father, King George V, is a stern man whose browbeating manner has likely contributed to the stuttering problem; his elder brother David (officially Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David) shows little interest in or respect for either Albert or his own obligations as a British royal; and Adolph Hitler is inciting the German populace in the lead-up to what will become World War II.

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