Thoughts on The King’s Speech and Historical Accuracy in Hollywood

The King's SpeechJust got back from an afternoon date with my wife. We went out for lunch and then to see The King’s Speech. Hence the late post here. (I’m taking the week off from work, so you might see me online a tad less than normal. I’m sure you’re heartbroken.)

Thoroughly enjoyed the movie. A fantastic story, well executed, without too much schmaltz. Is it historically accurate? No. Do I care? No. What is ‘history’? In the end, it’s an agreed upon story. It’s impossible to recreate it, and if you did, it would be insanely boring. Any time any film is made of history, it automatically won’t be accurate by default. It’ll be limited to a few points of view.

If you ask a room full of people what happened at a place and time last week, you’re bound to get a room full of different answers. Is any one of them more ‘accurate’ than the others? History is tinted by our perceptions of it, and one of the worst reasons to watch a Hollywood movie is to get a history lesson. Movies tell stories. Film strips and documentaries take stabs at history. Stories require pacing, characterization, drama, plot, conflict–at all parts of the story. That’s the lifeblood. Lose those elements, and you lose your audience. So to make a successful movie based on history, you need to condense some parts, create others–even fabricate events at times.

In the end, I’d say this movie seems pretty close to history, but it’s taken liberties. It doesn’t matter. If it makes you curious to find out more, you can. Don’t be disappointed when ‘reality’ is different than what you watched. If you had seen reality first, you might well have not been interested to find out more.

In any case, I loved the movie. Four stars for me, and I’ll not be displeased at all if it wins Best Picture on Sunday. Of course, I haven’t seen The Social Network, so I can’t say one way or the other who I want to win.

Anyway–back to my edit . . .

5 thoughts on “Thoughts on The King’s Speech and Historical Accuracy in Hollywood”

  1. So glad my agent and my sister are unified in their disgust for my inability to see movies in the theater. I live in a small town–if I miss it when it’s in the theater, then it’s gone until blu-ray. Social Network came out while I was in the middle of my earlier Vodnik edit, so I was a tad busy at the time. It was released on DVD back in January, but I believe it takes about a month for it to mosey its way to Netflix, so it’s just now been made available to me to watch . . . when I’m in the middle of editing Vodnik again.

    Clearly my Muse does not want me to see this movie, and who am I to fight against the gods? 🙂

    Seriously–it’s in my queue, and I plan on watching it very soon, but I don’t think I’ll get to it in time to see it before the Oscars. Maybe if I get my current DVD watched tonight and sent back tomorrow, then I might get Social Network by Friday, which gives me Saturday to watch it, but then I’m all alone while Denisa goes on a campout (in the middle of winter–don’t ask), so doubtful I’ll get to it then.

    Gee–I don’t sound guilty at all, do I?

    Sigh. I fail as a movie critic.

  2. LOL. They should have redbox in Maine. That would solve your problem when you’re in an Oscars timeline pinch. We don’t see much in the theaters at all. A-Team and Red were the only ones last year, and this year we splurged to see a matinee of True Grit.

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