Caroline Friday

Caroline Friday is a novelist and award winning screenwriter with several film projects in development for both television and theatrical distribution. She is also a 2008 Kairos Screenwriting Winner for spiritually uplifting screenplays, sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation. Caroline currently serves as EVP of Sixth Day Media, LLC, a film finance and production company headquartered in the Atlanta area. She lives in Marietta, Georgia, with her husband and three children and can be found at

The King’s Speech

The King's SpeechColin Firth fans and British royal family enthusiasts, prepare yourself for a fabulous film that has already garnered a Golden Globe win for best actor. Best known for his role as the romantic Mr. Darcy in the BBC presentation of Pride and Prejudice, as well as the love interest in Bridget Jones’ Diary (again as Mr. Darcy), and Mamma Mia!, Firth powerfully and convincingly portrays the tormented and complex King George VI of England (Queen Elizabeth’s father) during a time when the whole world is on the brink of war.

Don’t be put off by the R rating, which had my husband and me concerned. We sheepishly crept to the theater before our teenaged kids were allowed to see what royal skeletons the filmmakers had revealed that would deserve such a severe rating. It turns out there is one pivotal scene midway through the movie that is chock-full of profanity. But believe it or not, it is surprisingly necessary to the story and does add some humor. Hear me out before you cast the first stone!

Having lived in London for five years and a self-professing royal watcher (I did see the queen twice!), I adore any story that lets us commoners behind the palace doors to see the normal, human frailty that afflicts the monarchy. In this story, George (known as Bertie) is the second-born son of King George the V, married to Elizabeth (the late queen mother played by Helena Bonham Carter), and the father of two little princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret—seemingly content as a royal prince, loving husband and father, with no plans of ever being king.

This suits Bertie just fine, mainly because of an embarrassing stammer that makes the smallest of public speeches a tremendous ordeal. The stress and anxiety of a debilitating speech impediment have systematically worn away at Bertie’s self-esteem so that the notion of becoming the ruling monarch seems impossible. However, the drama begins when his brother, Edward, announces his commitment to marry twice-divorced American, Wallis Simpson, foreshadowing a future abdication.

Suddenly, Bertie is put on notice by his father that he will more than likely become England’s king after all.

In preparation for a potential accession, Bertie’s wife, Elizabeth, secretly engages the services of out-of-work actor Lionel Logue (played wonderfully by Geoffrey Rush), who has an uncanny ability to help alleviate speech impediments. At first Bertie is put off by Lionel’s strange and unorthodox methods, but as they prove to be effective, he opens up and a deep friendship ensues. Firth and Rush play beautifully off of each other during the therapy sessions, particularly in one where a frustrated Bertie unleashes a throng of R-rated cursing that is curiously unaffected by his stammer. The scene is humorous (I couldn’t help but laugh!) and yet shows Bertie’s deep frustration, pain, and torment—a sober reminder to the Christian that many such afflictions are the work of the Enemy.

Just as Europe enters World War II, Edward abdicates the throne, as expected, and Bertie reluctantly takes his position as George VI of England. As part of his royal duty, the new king is required to give a radio speech to the entire nation that will comfort and encourage the British people. The pressure mounts as Bertie’s stammer gives no indication of waning before the scheduled broadcast. Contrary to the advice from his counsel, he abandons all royal protocol and brings Lionel into his inner circle. Together, they implement Lionel’s unorthodox methods and prepare Bertie to give the most important speech of his life.

While being a character-driven drama, The King’s Speech has plenty of conflict and action that builds dramatic tension, keeping the viewer enthralled and wanting more. It is an intellectual film that not only reveals a slice of history but shows how a common man helped mold and shape one of England’s most beloved monarchs. If you were fans of The Queen, with Helen Mirren, you will be equally fascinated with this peek into royal life.

Look for this movie to win lots of nominations during this year’s awards season. Perhaps Mr. Darcy will win his first and much-deserved Oscar. I’m sure fans of Pride and Prejudice would like that. And so would Colin Firth.