"The King's Speech" should be a film I like. Being a Dewey democrat, that is, I should applaud that a film respecting of aristocracy spends so much effort showcasing what democratic, truly mutual relationships are like -- and apparently arguing them as superior to others. People need and deserve to be treated with respect. People deserve our efforts at fully understanding them; they need and deserve to be constantly listened and attended to. They need to be encouraged to enjoy doing what they like to do, to resist doing what they hate doing -- so long of course as this doesn't mean their staying with comfort zones born of deprival. No one person is really superior to any other -- whether you be King or other. This is what the film teaches.
Or does it? At the end I admit that the sense of this film as mostly in the democrat's camp, was perhaps more alien to it than I thought and wished it to be. What perhaps we most get from the film, is that FOR THE KING, and for the long-deprived, long-suffering, selfless king mostly only, all this attention is requisite and required, but not so everyone else. THE KING needs to be buttressed, faithfully understood, have everything we can give provided to him to the point of rattling every previous protocol, so he can be lead to lead a country through a war effort which would deprive everyone else for decades. All those faces we see at the end, listening to his speech -- the soldiers, the families, the multitudes of ordinary bar denizens: everyone -- know they're about to go through a period of sustained sacrifice, and what they need, we are told, is leadership to inspire them to nobly suffer through their deprivations, to ensure they endure. There is NO sense that what these people truly need is for this war effort to somehow become unnecessary, for some miracle of diplomacy to be tried and actually work, and so each of them can come to know more about what the film is for so long on about, like the need for constant, nurturing attendance, of playful, non-denying domestic life, to learn reason to know more about yourself and come to appreciate self-love. Such a thought would be traitorous in this film because it is at base FOR the war before being for anything else. If through the war, you found way to somehow be consistently playful and satisfied -- mutterings of Shakespeare; enjoying family life; every moment, every day an added treasure to your memory store -- you would not so much be the playful but highly sagacious "fool" of a therapist, but the irresponsible, indulgent Edward VIII: the film would hold you to that, be sure. And you would be his equal because he was a king in title only. Real kings, the film teaches, REALLY ARE the best of men -- holders of a pure, regal flame that remains alight when everyone else finds theirs diminished or out entirely, out of attending mostly to their personal needs, their own daily concerns.
Alas, no democrat’s film, this. In fact, I mostly fear it, and dread its upcoming Oscar knighthood.