The King’s Speech

In The King’s Speech, Bertie pays Lionel (his speech therapist) a visit shortly after his father, King George IV, dies. Bertie is finally ready to talk about his early life, and tells stories about how he was cruelly treated by his father and brother. Lionel had long suspected that childhood experiences had contributed to Bertie’s “stammer.”

They go for a walk, and Lionel makes a big mistake. He jumps to the next step, and suggests that Bertie could be King. Bertie accuses him of treason, and they don’t speak again for months.

What did Lionel do wrong? He didn’t stay in his listening mode. Sometimes we just need someone to listen. That’s it. Don’t offer solutions, and don’t push for action.

It is completely conceivable to me that someone who stuttered would think that he could not be King. Likewise with hearing loss. Communication disorders, including hearing loss and stuttering, shake your very core. How will people know you, if you dread communication? How can you connect, when your attempts usually end in failure?

It takes tremendous courage to get up after you fall, brush yourself off, and try again. Colin Firth did a great job of showing how hard that can be.

  • Photo credit:  © Alan Fortune

    Sandra Vandenhoff

    Dr. Sandra Vandenhoff is an audiologist with hearing loss, founder of HEARa, Hearing Strategies coach, speaker, and Canadian author, who gave her GPS away long before realizing that it was a good brain-boosting move.

3 thoughts on “The King’s Speech”

  1. I think The King’s Speech is as much about believing in yourself as it is about persevering. When the speech therapist suggested that Bertie could be king, Bertie became angry because he couldn’t jump to that conclusion himself – he wanted to believe him but couldn’t because he’d been told otherwise all his life. It took months for Bertie to try again because it took some time for him to start believing in himself. Ultimately he knew he would be a better king than his brother. It was that belief in himself that gave him the courage to try speech therapy again, and step up to take the crown.We all get mixed signals. When a stranger assumes you’re not smart because you can’t hear or speak clearly, how ignorant is that? They are jumping to conclusions. Bertie’s speech therapist was also jumping to conclusions when he said that Bertie could be king – but his was an informed opinion. Which conclusion would you choose to believe? It’s what you believe yourself that counts. KB – Vermont

    1. Sandra Vandenhoff

      Thank you for your comment. It made me think.

      Your comment was a reminder that it is an incredible gift to have a professional/coach/mentor who believes in you so strongly that you have to re-evaluate your own opinion about yourself. I’ve had a couple of people in my life like that, and I am grateful for it.

      You said, “When a stranger assumes you’re not smart because you can’t hear or speak clearly, how ignorant is that?” I don’t think it is ignorant. It’s just reality. If you don’t say much (either because you are afraid to speak or because you can’t hear and are not following the conversation), people make assumptions. I loved the way Colin Firth walked around with a slightly stressed look on his face throughout the whole movie. That was realistic. People might assume that you’re a person who is very serious and not friendly. If you don’t say much, people might assume that you are not interested or that you are standoffish. Thank goodness for the Internet and other technologies that make it easier to communicate. Back then, the only way for Bertie’s subjects to know him was through his speeches. It must have been torture. Thanks again, ~Sandra

  2. It’s great when a movie gives us a window into someone’s life. We can see what it’s like to live with a condition the we otherwise wouldn’t understand (and certainly not to the depth that you get from watching a good actor for a few hours!). That window of understanding is good whether it’s into a king’s life or a pauper’s.Cal.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top