The King's Speech
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A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for The King's Speech can be found here.

No. The screenplay was written by British-American writer David Seidler, who also suffered from a speech problem as a child. Seidler was inspired to tell the story of King George VI's success in overcoming his stammer. The movie won the 2010 Academy award for Best Motion Picture.

Britain's King George V's (Michael Gambon) second son Albert 'Bertie' (Colin Firth), Duke of York, who suffers from stammering, seeks help from speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), thanks to the intervention of his loving wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter). When the King dies and his first son, Edward (Guy Pearce) abdicates the throne to marry American divorce Wallis Simpson (Eve Best), Albert ascends to the throne as George VI with Logue ever present to help him overcome his speech impediment and guide his country through World War II.

King George V [1865-1936] reigned from 1910-1936. He was succeeded by his firstborn son Edward [1894-1972] who attained the throne at his father's death in January 1936 but abdicated in December of that same year. Albert then assumed the throne, taking the name of King George VI, and he reigned until his death in 1952. He was succeeded by his daughter Elizabeth, the current reigning British monarch.

The movie does not pin Bertie's condition to one definite cause. As in real life, a psychological condition is not caused by one single event; multiple experiences during life combined with certain character traits determine how each individual will respond. In Bertie's case, enough has occurred to make him so unsure about himself that it causes him to stutter. He admits having a bad relationship with one of his nannies. He apparently was left-handed but was forced to become right-handed (acknowledged by Logue as a very common thing among stammerers). The death of his handicapped younger brother Johnnie seems to have been a particularly influential event in his life. Also, the fact that King George's final words were meant for Bertie, but he couldn't just say it to Bertie's face, imply that the father-son relationship was never very warm (as witnessed when the king starts bullying Bertie into performing a Christmas speech). These are all conditions that can cause an insecure person to become even more introverted and develop difficulty in communication. The stammer actually reinforces itself as when a person begins talking but makes mistakes in pronunciation, leading to nervousness and shame, which exacerbates the stammer. Logue proves this when he makes Bertie speak while listening to music. When Bertie cannot hear his mistakes, he is much less likely to stammer. He also has no problems with speech while agitated or cursing, showing that a lot of determination in his speaking can overcome many of the inhibitions. At the end, Bertie has not simply learned to control his stammer, as a stammer is normally a life-long problem. He subdued it through constant attention, practice and experience.

Wallis Simpson [1896-1986] was a two time divorce, married once to U.S. Naval officer Win Spencer and again to shipping executive Ernest Simpson. While still married to Simpson, she became mistress to Edward, then Prince of Wales. When Edward succeeded his father to the throne of England, Wallis divorced her second husband and accepted Edward's offer of marriage. However, marriage to a divorce and being King of England (and, thus, head of the Church of England, which didn't recognize divorce) was considered incompatible with Edward VIII's duties and threatened to cause a constitutional crisis, which is what led to Edward's abdication, choosing 'the woman I love' over the throne of England. Edward was eventually declared the Duke of Windsor by his brother George VI. He married Wallis, who now became the Duchess of Windsor, and the couple moved to France.

How does the movie end?

England declares war on Germany and, as King of Britain, George VI is required to broadcast an inspiring message to his country. Logue stands by, advising him to 'say it to me as a friend'. The speech comes out smoothly, although Bertie still stammers on the 'w'. He is congratulated by his staff and family for his successful broadcast. In the final scene, George VI and his family stand on a balcony waving to their admiring populace while Logue looks on in satisfaction.

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