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The king’s speech


What’s left of what once was

This was the Oscar movie of the year. It may well have deserved winning over its competition. It certainly says unusually much about Hollywood. Finally, I write about this prompted by my most decent friends, who were touched or endeared by this movie.

But as for my audience, I must try to bring you back to the way they saw things in high-school, usually a healthier and more natural way. First of all, Colin Firth, who was once quite an attractive man, if something of a dandy, is now a coward. Why do we like to see cowards? Probably, it makes us feel superior. As this movie turns on the woman, we might take a hint: it is a feminine show. It is also terribly sentimental: the cameras, the montage, the music – all sentimental. This is not enough. The clincher, as the title suggests, is that we get to look down on a duke, a prince, and a king all at once. We will pretend to be sympathetic or endeared, but we are really flattered. Why shouldn’t we be? Do we not always congratulate ourselves for our great morality every time we encounter the unfortunate, the aberrations, and even the vicious? We are so greatly able to feel pity and to condescend to people enough to pity them that this movie is a delight above most.

If you want to learn about kings, you are better served reading Churchill or Machiavelli, but nowadays nobody makes movies that would earn their approval. The only thing remotely to do with monarchy is the duchess trying to pull rank on a craftsman who refuses to bow, which says a lot about knowledge, art, and power. Maybe the director should have taken a cue from that before he gave in to flattering every democratic prejudice prevailing today. I guess you can always pretend you are raising awareness and doing a public good…

The king apparently contemned his sons. They are unloved and therefore traumatized… Now, everyone can have an excuse for incompetence and sheer idiocy, from bottom to the top. But the king at least understands something about politics, apparently, whereas his sons are not much good. I wonder how men could look at this without contempt. At least he has a sense of humor; but he is no comedian. If this man were a thief or a conqueror, he might still be admirable in a way. Even that abdicating brother of his might be suspected to have been a lover, if not a man. Utter mediocrity bores some of us…

These two princes seem to have done nothing for their father in his old age. The king, now senile – how distant everyone is… Did they two even try to understand the man? The rest of the country is not even considered. Then the king dies; the old man was mourned. He deserved it – much was lost. Could he have thought himself would rule in the two princes? And what was good in him live on in his sons?

If you like any of the actors, you will love their performances