Thursday, June 19, 2014

finding voice

Now here is my summary of the movie:

One of my biggest fears at school was the annual speech competition. I found multiple ways – pretending to be sick, skipping class – in order to avoid that moment of terror, the act of public speaking.

Nor am I alone. Studies have shown that fear of public speaking ranks with fear of dying. “The King’s Speech” speaks to these shared levels of primal human phobia.

The movie begins with a man, “Bertie” (Colin Firth). He is alone. He stands in front of a microphone. Slowly the camera pans to a waiting crowd and then zeroes in on the radio dials that signal a worldwide radio audience.

The tension of this primal moment is exacerbated with the realisation that this Bertie is no mere mortal. Instead he is born royal, inheriting the expectation of public performance and proficient patterns of speech. The movie commences to trace “Bertie’s” partnership with unorthodox Australian speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush).

This personal drama is set against the backdrop of other battles concerning public speech. Will “Bertie’s” brother (Edward VIII, played by Guy Pearce), the current King of England, proclaim publicly his love for American divorcee Mrs. Simpson (played by Eve Best)? Will England speak out against Hitler’s expansionist aggression?

Loss of voice can result from physical damage. It can also result from interior pain. Viewed at this level, “The King’s Speech” becomes a metaphor that enables corporate reflection. Can a nation lose voice? Can a church?

Sometimes it feels like the church finds voice. But it still lacks appeal. We speak in ways that sound loud, brash and ugly. What we say might be true, but the way we say it simply alienates people.

Other times it feels like the church is stammering. We appear uncertain about what we really want to stay.

At other times it feels like our voice is no different from any other voice of any other group. So sure, we have voice. But it is background noise and we have nothing distinctive to say.

So King’s speech invites us to think about finding voice. What does it mean for us to speak? What does it mean for us not only to speak, but to speak in ways that are warm, wise and winsome?

Posted by steve at 10:19 PM

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