The King’s Speech

The King’s Speech is first of all a very straight forward movie, and this is notable in a year which has been marked by films with interesting plot structures exploring layers of reality and our perceptions of those layers. The King’s Speech is about a man with a speech impediment and a lack of confidence in himself, who is forced by new technologies and a world in turmoil to deal with both, pure and simple.

The man is the eventual King George VI, though he isn’t king when the movie begins, his speech impediment is a stuttering problem, the technology is the radio, his confidence problem is a result of his overbearing father and overshadowing older brother, and the global conflict is WWII.

The King’s Speech is also a very good movie. The story is expertly crafted, the direction is fluid, and the acting is excellent. Films about the British royal family always carry an air of inaccessibility, but it is that very air that makes them engrossing. The best British royal films always show the royals to be just like the rest of us albeit a bit more concerned about decorum. This is okay too though, because they are, after all, not allowed to be themselves, but carriers of an identity hundreds of years old.

At the core of this film is a question of weakness, why do we have weaknesses and what we are to do with them. the (eventual) king stutters, but he hasn’t always stuttered, and he simply can’t not do the things his stuttering complicates. He has to cope

We all have to cope, because we all have potentially life-defining weaknesses. If we are particularly clever, instead of reaching inside ourselves to find the strength to overcome our weaknesses, we reach out. The eventual king eventually reaches out, and (I’m not giving anything away about this historically based tale) is able to give his speech. The Bible tells us that God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness, because in our weakness we are made to rely on God, and God’s power is made manifest in us (2 Corinthians 12). In our weakness we are strong, because in our weakness we depend on Christ.

All too often, we try to overcome our weaknesses. Instead, perhaps we ought to learn to rest in Christ in the midst of our weakness. Perhaps there is strength in our weakness of a different, stronger kind.