The King’s Speech Parent Guide
Audiences of all ages could benefit from watching this timid man attempting to conquer his worst fears.
Parent Movie Review
What would you do if you were being considered for a high profile job that required a lot of public presenting, but you had a speech impediment? Chances are you’d politely turn down the opportunity. However, for Albert Frederick Arthur George of the House of Windsor (played by Colin Firth), bowing out simply isn’t an option.
Born the second son of King George V of England (Michael Gambon), His Royal Highness The Duke of York never expected to sit on the throne. Yet the unwanted prospect of wearing the crown becomes increasingly likely as his father’s health falters and his older brother Edward (Guy Pearce) insists on pursuing a romantic relationship with Wallis Simpson (Eve Best). The American divorcée does not meet the approval of the British parliament, so the Heir Apparent will be forced to abdicate his royal right to reign if he decides to marry her. Meanwhile, the winds of war are beginning to blow again over Europe as Nazi Germany rises in power.
Realizing her reluctant husband may soon be forced into the public spotlight, and knowing the advent of radio will demand the stammering Prince regularly step up to the microphone, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of York (Helena Bonham Carter) seeks new help for his problems. Under the assumed name of Johnson, she books an appointment with Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) an Australian speech therapist.
Unlike the experts the Duke has seen in the past, who have advised everything from filling his mouth with marbles to smoking cigarettes to relax his vocal cords, Lionel takes a very different approach. Along with insisting they work on a first name basis (he calls His Royal Highness “Bertie”—a moniker reserved only for use by the closest of family members), he also employs loud music and wagers of inconsequential sums of money. His most revolutionary suggestion however is rooting out the issue by looking for its possible psychological causes.
With a classic “stiff upper lip” the Johnsons decline any probing into their personal lives, preferring to stick to the mechanics of elocution. While Lionel is willing to concentrate on physical techniques and exercises, from experience he knows making any real progress will be unlikely until these personal aspects are addressed.
Family audiences may be confused by the Restricted rating awarded this historical drama by the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America). The concerns arise when Lionel encourages the tongue-tied Prince to let loose a litany of curses, because people seldom stammer while swearing. This unconventional treatment plan results in the repeated utterance of many mild, moderate and extreme profanities, including numerous uses of a sexual expletive. Similar cussing is heard again in a later scene.
Such foul language is regrettable because there is little other objectionable content, except depictions of smoking and references to immoral behavior. Audiences of all ages could benefit from watching this timid man attempting to conquer his worst fears. Although individual struggles may vary, the story of the shy soul who goes on to become King George VI of England speaks volumes about what can be achieved when a person has the love and support of some strong allies.Directed by Tom Hooper. Starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter. Running time: 119 minutes. Theatrical release December 22, 2010. Updated May 9, 2020
Watch the trailer for The King’s Speech
The King’s Speech
Rating & Content Info
Why is The King’s Speech rated R? The King’s Speech is rated R by the MPAA for some language.
Violence: Child neglect/abuse is mentioned.
Sexual Content: A man’s sexual relationship with a married woman is discussed. A man makes obscure sexual comments to a woman on the phone. References are made about a woman’s sexual skills.
Language: Infrequent use of mild and moderate profanities throughout. Two scenes include the repeated use of an extreme sexual expletive, along with other scatological terms and expletives.
Drugs and Alcohol: Frequent depictions of smoking. Some experts recommend smoking to relax vocal cords, while another claims it is unhealthy. Alcohol is drunk in social settings.
Page last updated May 9, 2020
The King’s Speech Parents' Guide
Click here to learn more about King George VI.
What kind of relationship did The Duke of York have with his father and his brother? How did that affect him? What kind of relationship does he have with his wife? How does that impact his confidence?
Lionel says that babies are not born with speech impediments. What kinds of things does he attribute to causing stuttering problems? What things from your past might be contributing to present day troubles? How can you address such issues?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
To learn more about King George VI, Sarah Bradfords biography "George VI" is a good place to start. Children might enjoy "The Mouth With a Mind of Its Own" by Patricia L. Mervine, about a boy named Matthew who struggles to make himself understood until he starts attending speech therapy.
The most recent home video release of The King’s Speech movie is April 19, 2011. Here are some details…
The King’s Speech release to DVD and Blu-ray on April 19, 2011, with the following bonus extras:
- Audio Commentary
- Making Of Featurette
- Deleted Scenes
Related home video titles:
British royalty have been the subject of many movie scripts including The Young Victoria (who was King George VI Great Grandmother), The Queen (about Elizabeth II, his daughter), and Elizabeth: The Golden Age (a relative to both himself and his wife).
The Royal Family do not, however, have a monopoly on overcoming hardships. In The Upside, Phillip, who lost the use of his limbs in an accident, learns (with the help of his recently-paroled assistant Del) that his injury doesn’t have to define what he can do. Recent documentary “Crip Camp, which focuses on a summer camp that gave disabled youth the skills and confidence to make the world work for them.