I saw the movie The King’s Speech this evening starring Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. The film chronicles the plight of the United Kingdon’s King George VI who fought to overcome his stammering problem with the help of speech therapist Lionel Logue who would eventually become his friend, as he delivered some of the most important speeches that a leader could give during World War II. During their therapy sessions, Logue often encouraged the King to sing the words he was trying to speak, so that he would create a more flowing delivery.
There’s an innate comfort that humans find in music that helps them relax and clear their minds. Logue made it clear that the King’s stammering problems had roots in his emotional issues of the past, though the King was reluctant to address them. Music helped him put aside those distractions and move forward.
In a related note on the topic of movie ratings and parenthood…
When I first saw the trailer for the movie, I thought it might be a great movie for my son to see. He’s at the age (13) where he’s getting a bit apprehensive about giving presentations in class and addressing groups. To my surprise, I learned that the movie was rated R. After researching the cause for the rating, I learned that it came solely from profanity – Logue tried to demonstrate that when you speak passionately you forget about the stammering and focus on communicating your emotions. There have been discussions regarding the release of an edited version that would change the rating.
The topic of the movie ratings system and how movies are evaluated is a broad one, but I would simply say that if you believe that your child will benefit from the message and can handle a couple of outbursts of foul language, I wouldn’t be too concerned with what was otherwise a very acceptable film for all ages.
We had a similar experience with another film a few years ago called Freedom Writers (PG-13). In the movie Hilary Swank portrays a young school teachers who touches the lives of inner city kids by exposing them to The Diary of Anne Frank and the power of using the written word to share your ideas to inspire others. We felt as though the message was a great one and we also felt as though it is important for our son to understand that there are children and families who deal with circumstances that can be more challenging and frightening than he and his friends might experience.
We simply told him prior to the movie that there were words used in the film to make it more realistic that were not appropriate for him to use. He said, “I know, Dad,” and that was that. Another movie I’d recommend.