From Ellen Druda
Author: Alan Bennett
The Uncommon Reader
This is a quick 120 page book about what would happen if the Queen of England was able to escape her minders and mingle, just a bit, with the commoners. Once she is exposed to the wonderful world of books and reading, her majesty discovers so very, very much. Light hearted and lovely.
From Jackie Cantwell
The King’s speech [videorecording]
Based on the true story of Albert, Duke of York (played by Colin Firth), the second son of King George V and Queen Mary. His wife, Elizabeth, played by Helena Bonham Carter, is the woman we knew as The Queen Mother.
Albert became King George VI. The film opens with Albert stuttering his way through a speech at Wembley Stadium. When doctors fail to cure him of his stutter, Elizabeth finds an Australian speech therapist named Lionel Logue (played by Geoffrey Rush), in London. When Lionel meets Albert, he has the audacity to treat the man who would be king as an equal, calling him “Bertie”. Albert doesn’t want to continue treatment, but he is desperate. They continue their unconventional sessions, including rolling on the floor, loosening the jaw muscles and limbs, and reciting tongue twisters. Lionel notices that Bertie doesn’t stutter when he’s angry, so he’s encouraged to curse and to rage. Lionel knows that stuttering has an emotional basis, so he questions Albert about his childhood, which Albert finds impertinent. The scenes between Elizabeth and Albert are very touching, as she is very loving and supportive. The scenes between Lionel and Albert are sometimes funny, but often filled with tension. More dramatic tension is supplied as Albert has to make a speech when he is crowned king, after his brother Edward (Guy Pearce) abdicates to marry Wallis Simpson (Eve Best). The titular speech is the one that Albert must give over the radio on Sept. 3, 1939, that leads England to declare war on Germany. The performances are fantastic all around; Colin Firth won the Oscar for Best Actor. The film also won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Directing, and Best Original Screenplay.