And the Oscar for “Overlooked Fact” goes to…The King’s Speech!

James Franco and Anne Hathaway / 2011 Oscars

Congratulations to everyone involved in the – now! – Oscar-winning movie The King’s Speech – especially “best original screenplay writer” David Seidler, “best Director” Tom Hooper, and “best male actor” Colin Firth.  At the 2011 Academy Awards, hosted by James Franco and Anne Hathaway, the film also took home the “best movie” Oscar to cap an astounding array of accolades won by such a low-budget movie.

The script, direction, and all the acting were very deserving contenders, the movie a truly heart-warming winner, and the acceptance speeches suitably modest.  Colin Firth notably said: “I have to warn you that I am experiencing stirrings somewhere in the upper abdominals that are threatening to form themselves into dance moves. Joyous as they might be for me, it would be extremely problematic if they made it to my legs before I get offstage.”

So what was that “Overlooked Fact” that could have been the 13th nomination for The King’s Speech and which might have won the Oscar in the “best non-appearance of interesting information pertaining to the plot” category…if there was one!

Regular readers of this blog will know it is the fact that for a good portion of his life, Lionel Logue was a Christian Scientist.

While the jury is still out on exactly how much that influenced his work – in Australia for returning World War 1 soldiers, and in England for King and commoners alike –  it is clear it played a significant part in his life.

I don’t hold it against the director and cast that they left this out…it would have been a tricky issue to deal with in the context of the story focused on in the film. I am, in fact, just very grateful to all involved for producing such a gem of a story, so well told, which – additionally – brought with it the opportunity for this blog (and several others, see to the right!) to discuss the value of Christian Science as the healing agent that it can be.

Here in the UK, a documentary by 1212 Productions called “The Real King’s Speech” aired on Channel 4 last week which also discussed the relationship between Lionel Logue and his most famous patient.  (And it also left out the fact that this therapist with a heart of gold had an interest in the healing practice of Christian Science…and, again, I can understand why that was not included.)

The highlight of the Channel 4 documentary was the inclusion of actual patients – Logue called them ‘pupils’ apparently – who had been helped by the Australian speech therapist at the same time he was helping the Duke of York who would become King George VI.  Their interviews were fascinating!  Their endearing memory of, and gratitude for, his work and character were moving.

The focus of the memories of these individuals who, in all but one of the cases, felt they had been freed to live their lives by Logue’s efforts on their behalf, was understandably on what he did and said.  Clearly Logue focused intensely on physical issues like breathing and psychological issues like childhood trauma, which are no part of a Christian Science approach to healing. What no-one knows, though, is exactly what Logue was thinking as he did what he did – although it always seems to have been loving.  As a patient who ultimately was not freed from his stuttering by Logue’s ministrations puts it in Remembering Lionel Logue by Richard Oerton, “I vividly recall Logue’s kindness. In my experience, it has not been entirely unknown for speech therapists to criticise their patients’ efforts, almost as if they are trying to bully them into fluency. Logue wasn’t like that. Quite a slight man, with white hair and rather delicate features, his voice was always slow, warm and friendly, still with a trace of an Australian accent, and he gave me nothing but encouragement.”

The question of what exactly Logue was thinking that brought out such characteristics in him can add a layer of fascination to Christian Scientists who see The King’s Speech.  Was he, as he ministered physically to the needs of his charges, also spiritually conceiving of them as spiritual ideas of an all-loving God, which is a starting point in Christian Science?  Was he acknowledging to himself that the divine Mind, God, would provide him with the inspiration he needed to do well whatever it was his to do that day?

The King’s Speech is already a classic movie without having such questions answered.  And while we might never know exactly what was on Logue’s mind, we can be grateful to Christian Science for, at the very least, playing a part in nurturing his conviction that turning around suffering lives is a not only a very reasonable aspiration but an achievable goal, even in the face of the ravages of a terrible war or the burdens of holding a high office.

Indeed, the more significant “fact” left out of The King’s Speech and “The Real King’s Speech”– through no fault of the makers, since it is not in the true story of the King’s experience of impressively subduing, but not curing, the condition – is that it is possible to move beyond speech impediments once and for all.  This has proved true in many cases by those applying Christian Science to their problem.

Consequently, our blog coverage of The King’s Speech to date, listed below, has been twofold – firstly focusing on Lionel Logue and his relationship to Christian Science, and secondly zeroing in on examples of the complete cure of speech impediments:

And last, but not least – for this King’s Speech celebratory post-Oscar blog – I found out that a colleague from the West Midlands struggled with a speech impediment for decades, until Christian Science enabled him to reach a point when it finally, fully, disappeared.  So I asked him about that, and what he felt about The King’s Speech…here is his response.

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Categories: Movies

Author:Tony Lobl

I write and speak on spirituality from my perspective as a Christian Science practitioner. I am also an Associate Editor for the Christian Science periodicals. I studied at the University of Surrey earning a BSc Hons Degree in Modern Mathematics before the impact of spirituality on health caught my attention and re-shaped my career.

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