God Save The King’s Speech Academy award winning film, The King’s Speech, is a motivational movie where voice and courage become a matter of life and death. Prince Albert, later known as King George VI (Colin Firth), stammers excessively and uncontrollably through his inaugural speech closing the 1925 British Empire Exhibition due to a speech impediment. After finishing such a disappointing speech, Prince Albert decides to give up on himself and accept his fate as a stammering heir to the throne.
However, his wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), enlists him to see an Aussie speech therapist that goes by the name of Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) whose “Antipodean methods are known to be ‘unorthodox’ and ‘controversial,’” (“The King’s Speech (2010)”) but effective . The setting takes place in London, during the early and late 1930s as problems surfaced between the UK and Germany. In one scene, King George V (Michael Gambon), stresses the need of communication as a foundation for personal life, relationships, professional success, civic life and in his case a monarchy.
As King George V lies in his death bed, his successor David (Guy Pearce), is left in a troublesome situation where he eventually renounces his spot on the throne. Throughout the movie Lionel works with Bertie, as he likes to call him, to enhance his nonverbal behaviors of kinesics, haptics, physical appearance, and artifacts in order to make him an articulate king. In the end, King George the VI learns how to properly use his nonverbal behaviors such as: proxemics, environment, chronemics, and silence to give a dynamic, and epic speech.
A clear, strong and projecting voice is essential when leading the masses especially when your kingdom depends on it. The King’s speech teaches us a great deal about communication especially when dealing with daily life conversations and nonverbal behaviors. The Duke of York was born into royalty, but what is royalty without a voice? Communication plays a major role as a foundation for personal life, relationships, professional success and civic life. Throughout the entire film, Prince Albert struggles to have a fluent conversation with those he interacts with.
Bertie, is seen as a soon-to-be agonizing heir to the throne because he lacks communication skills. The only thing stopping Prince Albert is himself. In the movie he states: “If I'm King, where's my power? Can I form a government? Can I levy a tax, declare a war? No! And yet I am the seat of all authority. Why? Because the nation believes that when I speak, I speak for them. But I can't speak”(“The King’s Speech (2010)”). Prince Albert was a troubled child who was repressed of using his left hand, possessed knock-knees, had an abusive nanny and a death of a brother at an early age.
As time passed, Prince Albert never grew out of his comfort zone and continued to speak poorly. Because Prince Albert speaks of himself that way, we can assume that communication is essential in leading a nation and is a foundation for personal life, relationships, professional success and civic life. By saying that a nation believes when he speaks, one can generally expect a leader for any reason or cause to possess great speaking skills in order to be prosperous. The old phrase, “actions speak louder than words” had never been so true such as in the case of Prince Albert.
The Duke of York lacks nonverbal behavior greatly in the sense that he has no self esteem therefore, making him a statue when he speaks. “I have received from his Majesty the K-K-K-King”(“The King’s Speech (2010)”) were the first words he said as he addressed a crowd of over 100,000 spectators in his inaugural speech. Parents and kids looked down as he spoke knowing he was not fit to rule an empire. He gave bad vibes to the audience as he swayed back and forth, grasped the microphone with great uncertainty, and held a blank gaze across the stadium while blinking constantly.
At that point, the only thing identifying him as heir to the throne was his suit and position in the stadium. Confidence, appearance and body motion are perhaps one of the most important factors on determining whether a person is a great speaker or not. As mentioned in class, “you don’t want to make out with a prop, freeze during the middle of a speech, or throw someone off because of your appearance” (Reed). Due to these bad qualities as a speaker, one may conclude that your body motion, physical touch, appearance and personal objects are crucial when addressing a crowd or an individual.
In addition to Ms. Reed’s ideology, Julia Wood stresses the need for effective nonverbal behaviors in proxemics ,environment, chronemics, and silence when communicating. Lionel teaches Prince Albert how to use his space wisely, to feel comfortable in every setting, and to not collapse under the pressure of time. Prince Albert learns to substitute his stammer for silence in order to add more power and intensity to his speech. In one scene Lionel says, “long pauses are good: they add solemnity to great occasions” (“The King’s Speech (2010)”).
In the final speech, Lionel props up the room where King George VI will be speaking in a manner similar to the room where they practiced to make him feel comfortable. By using these four powerful nonverbal behaviors accurately, a speaker, such as King George VI will make an impact on anyone. Furthermore, “paying attention to the nonverbal dimensions of your world can empower you to use them more effectively to achieve your interpersonal goals” (Wood 109).
Because King George VI manages to successfully say his speech, one can notice that nonverbal behaviors are just as powerful as verbal behaviors and equally represent a person. In closing, I really enjoyed watching this movie because of the journey King George VI embarked on to find his voice through perseverance. However, royalty without a voice is no royalty at all. A king must possess a certain skill when communicating in order to prove his superiority among the public. One modern example can be seen when President Barack Obama communicates effectively to gain his audience’s attention, approval and confidence.
Effective communication, such as allowing your voice to be heard, dealing with daily life conversations, and nonverbal behaviors is the difference between comprehension and confusion. Works Cited Reed, Joquina. Texas A&M International University. July 18,2012. Class Lecture. The King’s Speech. Dir. Tom Hooper. The Weinstein Company, 2010. Film. Wood, Julia T. Communication Mosaics: An introduction to the field of communication. 6th ed. Wadsworth: Cengage Learning, 2011. 109.