We went to see The King’s Speech last night. It is the Academy Award winner for best picture for 2010 and certainly deserves the honour. While some might complain that the movie does not have much of what we often go to movies to see in terms of sex and violence, car chases and shoot outs, it does, very poignantly, show us the struggle of a man to find his voice, to be able to speak.
J saw the film as a very interesting inside look at a time in history when the world was turning upside down, war was on the horizon, and a king abdicated for love. For me, the movie was more about the struggle that “Bertie” faces as he tries to overcome a speech impediment. His struggle is in many ways my struggle. I stutter or as Bertie describes it, stammer. His stammering is much more pronounced than mine ever was but I could still feel his pain. I know what it is to open up to speak and have no sound come out. I know what it feels like to rearrange sentences so that they don’t begin with a particularly troublesome vowel. I know how agonizing it is to try to talk when it won’t come out and to have people say “just breathe”, “slow down”, just making the whole problem worse.
Many people don’t know that I stutter, I’ve learned how to find a “voice” that works. In my teen and preteen years stuttering and the embarrassment that came with it was a constant part of my life. I have learned how to speak in front of crowds. Sometimes that other “voice” is not available and the young man in me comes back with his disability. It seems to have something to do with my state of mind, my ability to get into the “zone”.
For some reason, watching A King’s Speech brought all of it to the front. After watching the show the stutter was there. I was glad to be with friends and my best friend rather than needing to speak to strangers. Somehow the movie touched something deep inside.
I’m still struggling this morning.