Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"The King's [History]," and Why It's Always Important to Separate Fact from Fiction

I absolutely enjoyed "The King's Speech."  I thought the acting was superb, and the screenplay was was one that emphasized the power of friendship and the ability to overcome a substantial obstacle.  Those are great themes for a film to display for its audience.  But I knew from the moment I sat my anglophilic self down in that theatre seat that I was watching fiction.  What I didn't know, because I didn't study that era of British history, as closely as I have studied the same era in American history, was the real story surrounding the King and his Prime Ministers as war loomed.

Coming to my rescue, and before I broke out my own books, is Christopher Hitchens.  Hitchens article on the history covering what happened with the Prime Ministers Chamberlain and Churchill was, for lack of a better term, delicious reading.  Hitchens reminds me of why I am always skeptical of historical movies, even those that I think are really great ("Glory" comes to mind).  I know that I am there to be entertained, not necessarily taught.  What Hitchens does for all of us who aren't as familiar with the actual history is to give a corrective to the film.  All historical movies should be so lucky to have such a wonderful critique (as well as members of Congress).

And I am still rooting for Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and of course Helena Bonham Carter (I adore her) for the Academy Awards, though I think only Firth will prevail.

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