This week’s content will likely be a bit more palatable for most of you… less controversial; but alas, no less weighty!
Colin Firth and Geoffery Rush magnificently portray the story of a man so “afraid of his shadow” – to quote Lionel Logue – that he cannot bear to speak into a microphone without stammering incessantly. This would be no great problem for most people because we don’t have to get up in front of mics very often, if ever. However, if the Duke of York has this problem on the eve of his ascension to the throne that might start to be a problem. Add to that the fact that England will soon declare war against Hitler’s Germany. Wow – big problem! Bigger than most of us can imagine. But thanks to Firth and Rush we are able to enter the psyche of the man who would become King George VI and be recognized for his resolute speeches throughout the war, which many credit for keeping spirits high enough to withstand the Third Reich.
What a re-creation. Watch the film! Then tell me if you have ever seen such a transformation. I sure haven’t. And what one thing finally transformed the man who would be the voice of the country standing between Hitler and what was left of the free world? Friendship – like he had never had before. Logue become confidant of the king and was the only man willing to push his buttons. Throughout some very painful scenes Logue pushes “Bertie” to the edge emotionally so that he might find his voice. This otherwise intelligent wallflower of a man suddenly sprang to life. Passionate, yet fearful of leading he steps to the mic – ending where he began – to address the British Empire. This time he shines, thanks to the love of a crazy bloke from Australia who wasn’t willing to settle for the status quo.
At one point Logue told Bertie “you are the bravest man that I know.” And it was true. To take the throne without having conquered what is a debilitating defect for a regent has to be among the most fearful situations anyone can imagine. Yet the Duke of York – soon to be know as King – realized that his nation needed him. He had naval skill and the heart of a lion, so he took a leap of faith knowing that if he failed he would fail forward, and eventually learn to be the voice of a nation.
So, I encourage you to take a lesson from King George VI and face up to your fears. They’re the biggest inhibitor of re-creation, whether that means trying your hand at painting, learning to ride a surfboard, or simply taking that new job that seems a little out of your field of experience. (I just took one in entry-level marketing/aka – sales.)
If we want to re-create ourselves and the communities around us we’re going to have to face down our fears. If you need someone to follow, follow King George. See the film in theaters. It’s an experience worth having. Don’t believe me? Take a look at Peter Traver’s review for Rolling Stone where he says of Tom Hooper’s work that he “breathes fresh, urgent life into every frame of this powerhouse. Hooper, 37, is a prodigious talent. The emotion this film produces is staggering.” The performances he pulls out of Helena Bonham Carter, Geoffrey Rush, and Colin Firth are nothing short of superb and Hooper often puts us right on the tips of their noses to feel the tension in the air that they feel and read every twitch and wince and glimmer in their eyes.
I have known fear myself. Fear over starting a new business, fear over beginning fresh in an industry for which I have no experience on my resume. Fear of moving on from a relationship. Fear of being poor. All of these fears can either drive us to protectionism, or to put it on the line to become the people our loved ones need us to be, and quite honestly the person we need us to be. Take the risk. Re-create yourself! Find your voice!