"The King's Speech" and the Power of Perseverance

By Allison Salerno
Okay, maybe the 50 or so folks at our local public library who watched "The King's Speech" tonight with my husband and me were the last people on the earth to see this Academy Award-winning film about King George VI's struggles to overcome his stammer.

But if you are among those who haven't seen this movie yet, do. Other than some foul language, spoken by the king himself as he struggles to find his voice, this movie is a great movie for families. It's an inspirational story,  a love letter to speech therapists everywhere, and its message is about how trust and perseverance can help us overcome many obstacles.

The movie is visually stunning and its music beautiful. But what moved my husband and me the most was the relationship in the film between the king and his Australian speech therapist and the relationships between the king and Queen Elizabeth, his supportive and loving wife.

As parents of a boy who struggled mightily for years to have his speech understood, we feel the film demonstrates the enormous power of trust and perseverance. One of the film's messages was that when we trust one another with our frailties, when we allow our vulnerabilities to surface, when we work hard at seemingly impossible task, we can accomplish amazing things.

Public speaking is a key part of King George VI's job description. But, as he tells his speech therapist: "If I'm King, where's my power? Can I form a government? Can I levy a tax, declare a war? No! And yet I am the seat of all authority. Why? Because the nation believes that when I speak, I speak for them. But I can't speak."

The speech to which the title refers is the live radio address King George VI had to deliver to Great Britain and its colonies on the the day Britain goes to war with Germany at the start of World War II. Movie critics have quibbled over the story's historical accuracy, in particular in the depiction of Winston Churchill's position in the abdication crisis. George became king only after his brother, King Edward VIII abdicated the throne so he could marry a divorced American.

Watching the movie brought my husband and me back to a time and place when our own son struggled so hard to have his voice be understood. We are so thankful to all the kind souls - speech therapists and teachers - who have helped him find his voice.


  1. I too, Allison, can be numbered among 'the last people on earth' to watch this wonderful movie, last Saturday from a DVD. It hasn't been released in the Philippines. I would describe it as an adult movie in the best sense. The foul language used wasn't done so gratuitously and Prince Albert was going through enormous frustration.

    Your quotation from King George VI reminds me of that last poignant appearance of Blessed John Paul at his window the Sunday before he died. A man who could once speak powerfully now had no voice and yet spoke so eloquently in his helplessness.

  2. Father Sean: How unfortunate this movie hasn't been released in the Philippines. It is such a gift. And thank you for reminding me about Blessed John Paul's last public appearance.

    blessings to you.

  3. I just saw the movie too! I loved it. Good post.

  4. Love this film!


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