The King’s Speech & the Microphone

In The King’s Speech, King George VI struggles to overcome his stammer.   The entire film revolves around Bertie’s speech impediment and his attempts at defeating it with help from his trusty speech pathologist, Lionel.   This is the heart of the film.  It is the nucleus that holds everything together.  We know it’s a struggle because he tells us it’s a struggle and what’s more, we see him struggling.  


What I find intriguing are the more subtle attempts at emphasizing this struggle that go beyond the ordinary ways of communicating to the audience, like dialogue and screenplay.  These subtleties come in the form of brilliant shots of Colin Firth staring down a microphone.  There are many close-ups of Firth above, under, around or through a microphone.  There are shots of Firth looking at the microphone as if it’s his worst enemy; as if it is something he must defeat.  There are shots of him look at the microphone with fear and dread.  We, the audience, are more than aware of this battle, but it’s the stunning and clever shots that remind us almost subconsciously of the seriousness of his impediment.  It’s a beautiful thing when cinematography plays such a key part in 
storytelling and it’s one of the many things about the The King’s Speech that make it such a great film.


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