Sunday, March 6, 2011

Stuttering is a royal pain

Early last month I saw the historical drama, The King’s Speech, at The Flicks here in Boise. It is an impressive movie, particularly considering the relatively low budget (around $16 million). The plot is about King George VI overcoming his stutter (or stammer) with the help of an unorthodox speech therapist who also becomes his friend. 

Late last month I was pleasantly surprised to see it win four Academy Awards (Oscars) for:

Best Picture
Best Leading Actor (Colin Firth)
Best Director (Tom Hooper)
Best Original Screenplay (David Seidler)

The award for Best Picture was particularly surprising, because another nominee was Inception, a $160 million science-fiction action film. It starred both Leonardo DiCaprio and  Michael Caine, and seemed a much more obvious choice.

The King’s Speech was unusual for offering a sympathetic portrayal of a stutterer. More commonly in movies that problem is portrayed for comic effect, as in A Fish Called Wanda where Michael Palin played the stammering Ken Pile. Palin’s father had a stammer

You can find out more about stuttering from the National Stuttering Association and the Stuttering Foundation.

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