Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Triumph of Will

A troubled childhood leaves the prince a stutterer, but nothing worse. He grows up to be a normal adult, a loving husband and father, and what is more, an intelligent royal with adequate understanding of the role of royalty in politics.

As a child the prince was being pinched by the nanny when presented before his parents, the King and the Queen of England, to show him in bad light. He also experienced his younger brother's long illness and subsequent death, and was made to undergo excruciating pain on account of the steel braces he had to wear to set right his knock knees. A very dominating father and a bully of an elder brother completed the picture of the young prince's growing up woes and erosion of self confidence.

It takes someone with a deep understanding of human nature to bring to the surface these early life episodes and to show them as the contributing factors for the Prince's speech impairment. The plot of the movie revolves around the lively tussle between the so called speech therapist, Dr Logue (Geoffrey Rush), without a formal medical education and the blue blood (Colin Firth), who finds it very difficult to shed his royal pomposity to accept the therapist as an equal. These moments of vacillation by the prince on the face of contrived provocation by the therapist, gives the movie its high points. Logue shows remarkable sangfroid in his moments of dejection and humiliation. The scene at Westminster Abbey on the eve of the coronation of the Prince as King George VI brings out the best in both Firth and Rush, who play out a protracted duel as vexation, anger and snobbery get a free flow. In the end the duel turns out to be the personal triumph for both the contestants, as both of them overcome great challenges.

I had started watching the movie with great hesitation, as I thought stammer is too insignificant a subject to knit a story around. But my fear was short lived because soon I discovered that stammer was just a peg on which hangs a great tale of trust, friendship, and of psychological triumph.

As to whether these factors are good enough to bring the movie all the Oscars it won, in the face of stiff competition from other good movies of the year, I have my own doubts. But then Oscar always loves the high and mighty. 

No comments:

Post a Comment