Lionel: Why should I waste my time listening to you?The King's Speech is a 2010 period film, directed by Tom Hooper and starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham-Carter.The film depicts the early years of Prince Albert, Duke of York (Firth) — the man who would be King George VI of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland — and his struggle with a severe speech impediment that kept him from carrying out public speaking engagements. His wife Elizabeth, Duchess of York (Bonham-Carter), enlists the services of failed Australian actor-turned-speech therapist Lionel Logue (Rush) to help her husband. Logue's unconventional methods do indeed begin to make some progress. Meanwhile, however, Prince Albert's older brother Edward VIII (Guy Pearce) makes a royal botch of his own marriage plans, thrusting him even further into the spotlight, even as another famous public speaker is stirring up trouble on the continent.
Bertie: Because I have a right to be heard! Because I HAVE A VOICE!
Lionel: ...Yes, you do.
Bertie: Because I have a right to be heard! Because I HAVE A VOICE!
Lionel: ...Yes, you do.
This film includes examples of:
- Actually Pretty Funny: Bertie's response to his wife telling him that Wallis called her "the Fat Scottish Cook" is to remind his wife she is not fat. When his wife claims she is getting fat, he says "Well, you seldom cook." It takes a moment, but she chuckles in the end.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Inverted; the real Lionel Logue was actually quite handsome◊.
- Albert, Albert, Albert.
- Logue performing hilariously hammy Shakespeare for his children. His sons can't help but be simultaneously amused and embarrassed.
- Affectionate Nickname: "Bertie" for Albert.
- All Girls Like Ponies: Bertie's daughters. Truth in Television, as the future Queen Elizabeth II is an enthusiastic equestrienne.
- Always Second Best: Bertie to his father and brother.
- Angrish: Inverted, as Albert actually stutters less when he's pissed off. It becomes part of the speech therapy.
- An Offer You Can't Refuse: The Duchess of York in her initial meeting with Lionel.Lionel: Am I considered the enemy?Elizabeth: You will be, if you remain unobliging.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: "SHIT! AND FUCK! AND tits..."
- Wallis Simpson is not just an American divorcee, she's also sharing her favours with a used car salesman and getting roses from the German ambassador.
- Artistic License – History: George V references the two men who threaten the stability of Europe: Herr Hitler and Marshal Stalin. However, Stalin did not award himself the title of "Marshal" until World War II. At the time, he would have been referred to as "Comrade Stalin."
- As You Know: George V reminds Bertie that Edward will be king, but the trope is more justified than usual because Michael Gambon delivers the line with sardonic disgust.George V: Your darling brother, the future king...
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: Averted. Though George VI rehearses his coronation, it happens off-screen, leaving his speech as the film's climax. He later watches the edited newsreel version with his wife, girls and the Archbishop, and even then, we only catch a glimpse of it.
- Although it's not shown, Lionel Logue was made a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, an order of chivalry for direct services to the monarch.
- Berserk Button: An Invoked Trope by Lionel on several occasions (most notably when he sits in the Coronation Chair at Westminster Abbey) as Bertie doesn't stammer when he's angry.
- Blah Blah Blah: While rehearsing the Coronation speech with the future king, Lionel condenses the Archbishop's words down to "rubbish, rubbish, rubbish..."
- Bling of War: George's uniform at his accession council.
- Later he's seen in his actual naval uniform from World War I, which is quite understated by comparison, but still sharp.
- Bowdlerization: In order to maximize the film's profits, the film - an Oscar-winning feature - was re-released in the United States with some content cut out to avoid an R rating. The recut film, released in theaters around and after the Oscars, had the PG-13 rating attached to it. (See Cluster F Bomb, below, for most of what got cut.) note
- Brick Joke: The shilling.
- British Stuffiness: Bertie is an uptight and proper man, to put it mildly. Arguably, the movie presents British Stuffiness itself as one of the causes of his speech disorder.
- Buffy Speak: Edward refers to his general gadding about as "king-ing."
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Lionel Logue. Hell, it turns out he's not even accredited or trained — he just happened to be excellent at treating people with speech disorders when people kept asking him to treat Shell-Shocked Veterans from the Great War. As he points out, there weren't any schools then, just thousands of wounded veterans who needed his help. No wonder his treatment was so effective. note
- The Chains of Commanding: Very much indeed.George VI (sobbing after learning he's to be king) I'm just a naval officer! It's all I know how to be...
- Earlier when Logue and Elizabeth meet for the first time:Logue: Maybe he should change jobs.
Elizabeth (Incognito): He can't.
Logue: Indentured servitude?
Elizabeth (Incognito): Something of that nature.
- At his Accession Council, Bertie is struggling with his speech to the Privy Councillor, and he looks above their heads to a large portrait of Queen Victoria. Then around at all the other monarchs' portraits looking down at him, finishing with his own father.
- Earlier when Logue and Elizabeth meet for the first time:
- Chekhov's Armoury: Albert breaks out nearly every trick Lionel teaches him during the last rehearsal scene (Swearing, singing, etc).
- Chekhov's Gag: When Lionel tries get Albert to bring up a topic, the latter responds: "Waiting for me to... commence a conversation, one can wait rather a long wait." Later, when Albert returns to apologize to Lionel, he tells him: "Waiting for a king to apologize, one can wait a long wait."
- Cigarette of Anxiety: Bertie tries to have a cigarette after a particularly bad session with a speech therapist. His hands are shaking too much, though, and his wife lights it for him.
- He lights up again (despite Lionel trying to discourage him from the habit) after his argument with Lionel in the park.
- Clock Discrepancy: When Bertie comes to tell David that he is late for dinner, David reminds him that their father ordered all the clocks set fast and winds the hands back on a mantle clock by half an hour. According to royal biographers, this is Truth in Television.
- Cluster F-Bomb: A single scene featured this, thus earning a film that would otherwise be rated PG (and did in Canada, albeit with the advisory, "Language may offend") an R rating in the USA - all due to the MPAA's rules concerning the usage of profanity."Fuck. FUCK! Fuck, fuck, fuck AND FUCK! Fuck, fuck AND BUGGER! Bugger, bugger, BUGGERTY BUGGERTY BUGGERTY, shit, shit, ARSE! Balls, balls, FUCKITY, shit, shit, FUCK AND WILLY. WILLY, SHIT AND FUCK AND tits."
- Corpsing: Blink and you'll miss it, but Lionel is laughing heartily during Albert's Cluster F-Bomb. This wasn't scripted and Geoffrey Rush was just losing his composure at the hilarious delivery, but Tom Hooper thought it was such a great addition that they kept it.
- Crosses the Line Twice: Invoked in the Cluster F-Bomb scene.
- Daddy's Girl: The King has two adorable little girls, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, and he makes it very clear how much he loves them. A charming case of Truth in Television.
- Dare to Be Badass: More like Dare To Be A Bloody Good King, but you get the idea.
- Genteel Interbellum Setting: Pretty much all of the movie takes place in this, though you don't see a lot of the tropes commonly associated with it.
- Dead Air: Most notably in the first speech shown where he stood there for over two minutes trying to talk into the microphone without being able to get anything out. Even after that, he's still stammering and pausing as everyone looks on in shame and embarrassment.
- Deadpan Snarker: Good ol' Lionel.Lionel: [as George "Bertie" is lighting up a cigarette] Please don't do that.
Albert: I'm sorry?
Lionel Logue: I believe sucking smoke into your lungs will kill you.
Albert: My physicians say it relaxes the throat.
Lionel Logue: They're idiots.
Albert: They've all been knighted.
Lionel Logue: Makes it official then.
Lionel Logue: Surely a prince's brain knows what its mouth is doing?
- Bertie is pretty good at this himself.
Albert: You're not well acquainted with princes, are you?
- Deliberate Values Dissonance:
- When Lionel forbids Prince Albert from smoking in his office, he calls the knighted doctors who recommended the prince to smoke for the good of his larynx "idiots". However, back in The Roaring '20s, that makes Logue an eccentric while modern audiences would know that a doctor giving such an advice is practically grounds for medical malpractice. This also makes sense once we remember that Logue had worked with plenty of WWI veterans and had seen the effects of gassing on young men. Bertie in turn was a turret captain on one of the Royal Navy battleships at the same war, and cordite smoke actually does even worse things to a human lungs than tobacco, but even this taught him nothing. He still smoked like a chimney to the very end.
- Also, the idea of Parliament making a big enough deal objecting to King Edward's wanting to marry his twice-divorced girlfriend to resign en masse over it seems an overreaction to a modern audience, but the fact that she was believed to be a German spy kind of justifies their threat. Not to mention, the King of England is also the formal head of the Church of England, a church that at the time did not recognize this kind of divorce as legitimate, and so his intention to marry a twice-divorced woman was in direct contradiction to the church's doctrine. It seems silly from a modern perspective to make such a fuss over a divorce, but the king is not merely a head of state. For a modern comparison, consider what would happen if a newly elected pope came out of the closet.
- Edward VIII was widely (and not without some basis) believed to be a Nazi sympathizer. It was actually quite a popular position at the time.
- Not to mention several characters making vaguely xenophobic jibes against Logue's Australian background.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Logue acting as 'conductor' for the final speech.
- Don't Call Me Doctor: Lionel Logue is insistent with future King George VI to call him "Lionel" and not "Doctor" and it turns out to be justified: Lionel is not a doctor, by any means, and if you check carefully, he has never once claimed that he was. He became a therapist by dint of helping PTSD-inflicted veterans of World War I in Australia. Albert is furious at first, but grows to accept it.
- Doting Parent: One of Albert's most admirable traits. After his accession to the throne, it broke his heart that his beloved little girls did not run to hug him as a father, but coldly and formally curtsied to him as a King.
- Double-Meaning Title: Referring to the publicly-important speech George VI delivers at the end, or to his personally-important speech, his way of speaking?
- Dramatically Missing the Point: Albert criticizes his brother Edward, who is heir to the throne, of acting unbecoming of the King of England. Edward thus accuses his brother of trying to take his place as king when what he was really trying to do was telling him to get his act together specifically because Albert didn't want to be king.
- The Dutiful Son: Comparatively rare instance where the dutiful son is the main character.
- Every Proper Lady Should Curtsy: When Bertie first meets his daughters after he became King, they formally curtsy to him. Which depresses Bertie, who would much rather they had run and hugged him like they always do.
- Everything's Better with Penguins: The story Bertie tells his daughters near the beginning. Presumably it's a joke on the black-and-white suits of the day.
- The story is actually based on one that Colin Firth would tell his children.
- Exact Words: Throughout the film, Bertie attempts to keep things formal by calling Lionel "Doctor Logue," while Lionel insists on a first-name basis. Later, the king is told that Lionel actually has no certificates or qualifications at all. He's mortified and furious, until Lionel gently points out that Bertie was the one who insisted on calling him "Doctor" and that Lionel has never advertised himself as such.
- Foreshadowing: At Lionel's audition for Richard III (paraphrased): "That does not sound like a deformed creature yearning to be king. [...] We're looking for someone younger... and more regal."
- The words he speaks are also meaningful, mentioning the "son of York". Bertie is, after all, the Duke of York.
- Friendly Address Privileges: Zigzagged.
- Friendship Moment: Bertie tells the Archbishop to seat Lionel in the King's box for the coronation. The Archbishop protests that the royal family is to be seated there. Bertie's response? "That is why it is suitable."
- Gray Rain of Depression: Lionel comes to apologize to Albert after an argument and is told that the Duke is "too busy" to see him. He is shown the door and exits into the pouring rain.
- Somewhat downplayed example: the aforementioned argument takes place in a light drizzle and a hazy fog with some sunlight.
- Happily Married: George VI and Queen Elizabeth; Lionel and Myrtle Logue. Also, though we don't see much of it, George V and Mary fit the trope in real life. For that matter, despite everyone calling David out for marrying her in the first place, David's marriage to Wallis Simpson was a long and happy one, too.
- Hard Work Montage: The speech therapy exercises.
- Harsher in Hindsight:
- Deliberately invoked with Edward's casual comment about the troubles in Europe, "Hitler will sort it out." While it could be considered merely naive, to modern audiences, that statement feels positively horrific and despicable to see the King of England want Nazi Germany to begin its rampage of mass death and destruction. Sadly enough, this is actually a favorable portrayal - in real life, Edward was a vocal supporter of Nazi Germany, guesting with Hitler multiple times, to the point that he had to be Kicked Upstairs to Governor of the Bahamas because the British government was that worried their once-king would try and sabotage the war effort.
- Logue's comment to Bertie about how smoking will kill you. It did.
- Head-in-the-Sand Management: The former Trope Namer, albeit only glimpsed. Stanley Baldwin and the Duke of Windsor also count.David: Don't worry, Herr Hitler will sort it out.
Albert: [impatiently] Yes, and who'll "sort out" Herr Hitler?!
- Hitler Ate Sugar: Averted. George VI is impressed by Hitler's public speaking ability.Princess Elizabeth: What's he saying?King George VI: I don't know, but he seems to be saying it rather well.
- Historical Beauty Update: Colin Firth and Guy Pearce as the brothers George VI and Edward VIII, for starters (the originals were certainly not ugly; Edward VIII, in particular, was quite the ladies' man).
- Historical-Domain Character: Everyone, obviously.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: Zigzagged with the characterization of Edward VIII. On the one hand, his image of a romantic man who gave up the crown for love is dissected, turning him into little more than a ditzy, uncaring socialite who really had no interest in - or business - being a constitutional monarch. On the other hand, Edward's vocal support for Nazi Germany is almost completely ignored, reduced to a single throwaway line (though in-keeping with the aforementioned "ditzy socialite" characterisation).
- Hollywood History: The producers did take a few liberties with historical fact.
- They eliminated the fact that King George VI wasn't very fond of Winston Churchill. They wouldn't even become friends until long after the events of the film.
- A lot of the later speech difficulty is likely trumped up. He was known to be at least a decent orator, with Logue's help, as early as 1927, when he opened Australia's parliament on behalf of his father, King George V. The stress of coronation though did set his speech progress back.
- The radio speech to the nation after the outbreak of war had the stress level ratcheted up as high as it could go.
- All of the events are compressed from a period of fifteen years into just a couple. George VI first started meeting with Logue the year before his daughter Elizabeth was born, while in the film they keep the same child actress for the entire story.
- George was a strong supporter of Neville Chamberlain's appeasement policy (though the film doesn't really say otherwise, since it more or less skips over the 1937-1939 period), going so far as to breach protocol and endorse Chamberlain's policy prior to the sitting of the House of Commons. However, this was the consensus attitude for the period, something most people tend to overlook in favour of just blaming Chamberlain. (This attitude makes a great deal more sense when you remember that Britain had only just started to recover from the devastation of WWI.) The film also has Stanley Baldwin resigning over misjudging Hitler, which wasn't the case; he was simply ready to retire after fifteen years as leader of the Conservative Party.
- The film also gets Churchill's position on the abdication crisis exactly backward; historically, Churchill was one of the few who was supportive of Edward.
- Although King George and Logue were on very friendly terms, Logue observed proper decorum and never went as far as to call him "Bertie."
- Couple of minor details: George VI did not really have to bounce on "peoples" in the speech listen here. He did bounce a bit on "a-depth" of feeling a few seconds later. And Lionel was not really seated in the royal box, but in the box just above it, where he and Myrtle had a splendid view.
- The movie doesn't mention it, but Logue and Prince Bertie were both Freemasons; one of the tenets of Freemasonry is that worldly distinctions of rank, class, caste, religion, etc. may exist among Brothers, all Masons "meet upon the Level." This was the basis of his ability to leave his princehood outside the studio.
- Hypocritical Humour: Logue remarks that the King's doctors being knighted makes their being idiots "official"; he later asks for a knighthood for himself near the end of the film.
- Logue encourages Bertie to face his fears, only to hide in the corner when his wife unexpectedly walks in on the Queen, because he never told her he was treating a member of the royal family. Bertie tells him to stop being a coward and calmly steps out and greets Myrtle.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Bertie has 'something stronger' than a Spot of Tea after his father dies.
- Insane Troll Logic: Edward VIII seems to operate on this. First, he thinks his father is deliberately feigning sick (i.e. dying) to make trouble for him and his mistress Wallis Simpson. He later thinks that George's attempts to get him to actually do his duty as an attempt to take the crown from him.
- Insult Backfire / I'll Take That as a Compliment: "Peculiar" is meant as an insult, but Logue seems to be genuinely proud of his nontraditional approach.
- It's All About Me: David/King Edward VIII. His introduction has him voicing the opinion that his father is purposefully dying to make things difficult for him. He doesn't improve as the film goes on.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: King Edward is a borderline example, as he truly does love Wallis, and his speech for his abdication is touching. Abdicating to his brother was probably the best thing he ever did.
- King George V as well: Bertie's speech problems are the result of his abusive, controlling behavior, but he is genuinely concerned for the future of his nation and recognizes Bertie's superior qualities (though he never tells him so).
- Jerkass: King Edward VIII, from what we see of him, is very rude towards Albert and more concerned with living the high life than with being a guiding voice for England. Also, he and Wallis were a pair of Nazi sympathizers, though the film only hints at this.
- Kick the Dog: The entire party at Balmoral Castle is an extended Kick the Dog on Edward's part, with a dose of Big Brother Bully to make things worse. He starts it by showing how lightly he takes to his duties as king, follows it by showing apathy toward Hitler's rising influence, and tops it all off by mocking Albert for his speech impediment just for daring to suggest he take leadership duties more seriously, to such an extent that Albert is unable to speak.
- King Incognito: Elizabeth makes her first visit to Logue under an assumed name, and only reveals her and her husband's identity to get Logue to understand the gravity of the situation. Logue is quite naturally taken aback.
- Kingmaker Scenario: Invoked; when Bertie reveals the Wallis Simpson scandal, Lionel pushes him to facing the fact that he might have to step up and become King. Bertie is furious, accuses him of treason and overstepping his bounds, and refuses to meet with Lionel until after his brother's abdication.
- Lantern Jaw of Justice: Colin Firth has a rather nice one, and it was even worked into the minimalist version of the film's poster (see above).
- Large Ham:
- Last-Second Word Swap: Just before the Cluster F-Bomb drops:Logue: Do you know the F word?Bertie: F... f... fornication?Logue: Oh, Bertie...
- Lonely at the Top: Bertie, until Lionel offers himself as confidant and friend.Lionel: What are friends for.Bertie: I wouldn't know.
- Love Ruins the Realm: Edward VIII's marriage plans cause his subjects no end of trouble. Most historians, however, think that this had the silver lining of allowing George VI to ascend, a much better choice for the throne in their opinion (his father agreed), given what was coming - though it wasn't so great for George himself, greatly exacerbating his health problems.
- Meaningful Echo: "I'm sure you'll be splendid." Uttered first by the Archbishop, and then Myrtle Logue, and then finally at the end by the Late Queen Mother. Then Princess Margaret tells her father that he was "just splendid."
- Meaningful Rename:
- Albert gets one of these when he becomes King George VI. David also changes his name when he becomes king although it's not as meaningful and happens off screen.
- For David/Edward, it's more of a case of Overly Long Name. David (full name Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David Windsor), chose his first name as his regnal name, but went by David among his family.
- Mouthing the Profanity: In the climax, Lionel encourages Bertie to swear in order to get him to overcome his stutter for the speech. Since doing so live on air would be disastrous, they both mouth the words instead.
- Mr. Smith: The Duchess of York first goes to meet Lionel under the alias of Mrs Johnson, causing him to commit a number of unconscious faux pas before she reveals she's a member of the royal family. Johnson was the cover name used by the Duke of York when he was a serving naval officer during World War I.
- Never Trust a Trailer: The film's trailer, to convey the premise as concisely as possible, refers to Colin Firth's character as the King throughout (when in fact he spends a large part of the film as merely the Duke of York), even going so far as to redub the moment when Logue is informed who his new client really is.
- Noble Bigot: George VI himself. He's a nice guy, but he's still a man of his time — and the 1920s was a time when white Australians are still looked down upon as descendants of prisoners (even though by this time they are now far outnumbered by immigrants, and Lionel himself descended from an Irish brewer who moved in 1850).Lionel: Would I lie to a prince of the realm to win twelve pennies?
Albert: I have no idea what an Australian might do for that sort of money.
- No Sense of Personal Space: Lionel violates the 'don't touch royals' rule, when he first meets 'Mrs Johnson', causing her to take a step backwards, and when he lays a hand on Bertie's shoulder in the park scene, causing Bertie to lose his temper. However Bertie lays his hand on Lionel's shoulder in a Friendship Moment at the end of the movie.
- Odd Friendship: Pretty much the whole point of the movie.
- Oscar Bait: Fits the stereotype, though, as many commentators have noted, it's actually uncommon for this sort of film to win Best Picture since the 2000s (whereas it was very popular in the 1990s). It won for Best Picture, Best Directing, Best Actor, and Best Original Screenplay.
- Overt Rendezvous: Rather than discuss the matter in Lionel's office, Bertie takes him out for a walk in the park (despite it being a cold and foggy day) to reveal the impending scandal about Wallis Simpson.
- The Power of Friendship: The friendship between Albert and Lionel was strong enough to help Albert gain self-confidence and break the normal social barriers to keep Lionel as his friend, even though Lionel was a commoner.
- Reluctant Ruler: Prince Albert/King George VI. He never wanted the throne, but seeing his wastrel brother screw up and abdicate for a twice-divorced, Nazi-sympathizer girlfriend, he has no choice in the matter. Likewise, Edward (who is more of the Rebel Prince variety) completely breaks down when he is told that he will be king.
- Royally Screwed Up: George VI and Edward VIII both have a dose of this, thanks to their abusive father and distant mother. The former's speech impediment and nervousness is the result of his unhappy childhood, and it's heavily implied that the latter's weak-will and hedonism is likewise a result of that upbringing.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: George VI complains that he has no power as a King, except as being an inspiration for the people such as in giving public addresses, which he has no confidence doing so with his stammer. However, with Lionel Logue's help, he does that role marvelously. This is in contrast with his brother, David, who seems more interested in carrying on with his mistress than being a competent king.
- Serious Business: The BBC newscaster at the very beginning approaches his duties with an almost comical degree of seriousness. Apparently he prepares for each broadcast by performing vocal exercises and gargling...something...from a cut-glass decanter which is presented to him on a platter by a servant.
- Sherlock Scan: Of sorts. Logue's children are able to tell what Shakespeare character he's playing with a single line of dialogue.
- To Shakespeare: Shakespearean quotations often relate to events in the film.
- Lionel auditioning for Richard III. Cut to Bertie (see Foreshadowing).
- Lionel gets Bertie to read from Hamlet, "Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer. The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune, Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles, And by opposing, end them?" Bertie facing his fears and condition is a theme of the film. Likewise Lionel gives the "be not afraid" speech from The Tempest.
- Shown Their Work: Albert's line about purposely stammering a couple times in the climactic speech "so they'd know it was me" was taken directly out of his diaries.
- The movie was changed only nine weeks before production to work details from Lionel Logue's then-recently discovered diary in.
- Shrinking Violet: Albert, whose stammer has made him deathly afraid of having to deal with crowds or public speeches.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Albert and David have several contrasting aspects to their personality.
- David has a lover (who has been twice divorced and a Nazi sympathizer), despite his family's disapproval. Albert is Happily Married.
- After his father's death and was told he would be king, David's breakdown in front of his family and the doctors was taken seriously as royalty was expected to have a Stiff Upper Lip. Albert only broke down once in front of his wife in private while otherwise remaining The Stoic in front of his subjects.
- During his rule, David was very carefree and more focused in pleasing Wallis Simpson, even telling Albert that "Hitler will sort [the troubles in Europe] out". After he became king, Albert would become the guiding figure for his people during World War II.
- David was a bit of a Jerk Ass, mocking his brother's stuttering and thinking Albert wanted to take over his place, while Albert was only trying to genuinely help his brother get his act together because he didn't want to be king.
- Albert was a naval officer, while David is at least an amateur pilot.
- Sickeningly Sweethearts: In-Universe, David and Wallis. The rest of the royal family is visibly disgusted.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Albert himself, used as a form of stress relief that allows him to speak more fluidly.
- Socialite: Wallis Simpson's exact job title before becoming the Duchess of Windsor. It is that sort of behavior that puts her at odds with Elizabeth (which is only hinted at in the film).
- Somebody Else's Problem: Edward VIII's attitude toward rising tensions in Europe. The "somebody" in question? Adolf Hitler.
- So Proud of You: The look on the former Queen's face when Albert gives the final speech.
- Spare to the Throne: Albert never seriously expects to become King himself... until he does.
- Spartan Family Member: When Bertie was younger, his father encouraged his brother to make fun of his stammer because he was convinced this would make it go away.
- Speech-Centric Work: Well, it is a film all about speech therapy.
- Speech Impediment: Albert has one, and overcoming it is the film's main premise.
- Spiritual Antithesis: Had one a year later in Madonna's W.E., which presents many of the events from Edward and Wallis's point of view, and takes a less charitable view of the Windsors.
- Stiff Upper Lip: This is expected of royalty in particular, so much so that when Edward breaks down at the death of his father, rather than comfort him everyone looks shocked and a little embarrassed, with Albert saying, "What on earth was that?" Absolutely truth in television, too - at that time, among the royal family, his breakdown was completely unseemly. Note that when Bertie has his later on, the only person there to witness it is his wife. Also When Queen Mary is listening to King George VI, there is a glimpse of a smile, and then returns to a stiff upper lip.
- Upon accession to the throne Bertie did have a breakdown in real life, it was in front of the Queen Dowager (Queen Mary, his mother), not his wife.
- This scene also adds to Edward's Jerkass level since, if you pay careful attention to what he mentions at the end of his blubbing, he's only really concerned how this will effect his relationship with Wallis Simpson. He didn't break down over his dead father, or hardly at all, it seems.
- Stupid Statement Dance Mix: Swede Mason has created the Cluster F-Bomb Stupid Statement Dance Mix. Watch it here. Warning: two minutes of nonstop swearing.
- Stutter Stop: Logue discovers that Bertie's speech impediment is reduced when he is singing, or swearing, or just very angry.
- Take That!: When King George V tells Bertie that the royalty has become the basest of all creatures: actors.
- Take That Me: Thankfully, Bertie isn't too depressed about his problems to not make fun of them.Lionel: Do you know any jokes?Bertie: T-..timing is n-not...my strong suit.
- Taught by Experience: Lionel became a speech therapist by treating shell-shocked World War I veterans and learning on the job; no courses existed then and he had to make it up as he went along.
- That Came Out Wrong: When Lionel's wife comes home unexpectedly while he's meeting with the King, and he panics about her reaction. "I haven't told her about us."
- There Are No Therapists: Or rather, there were none. Lionel cut his therapeutic teeth treating the speech disorders of shell-shocked World War I veterans, and quickly figured out that what they needed most desperately was a friendly ear. And as it turns out, Bertie had never had anyone to tell about the miserable childhood that fostered his stutter, including the fact that it took his parents three years to notice that the nanny was starving him. note
- By some accounts, it was George himself who developed anorexia, apparently on his own. The nanny who blew the whistle on, then took over from the cruel one, was very warm and motherly to all the kids, and is also remembered for (off-duty) swearing like a sailor.
- Lalla Bill. You can see her in The Lost Prince. She became Johnnie's full-time companion when he was "hidden from view". She was with him when he died.
- By some accounts, it was George himself who developed anorexia, apparently on his own. The nanny who blew the whistle on, then took over from the cruel one, was very warm and motherly to all the kids, and is also remembered for (off-duty) swearing like a sailor.
- They Call Me Mister Tibbs:
- Queen Elizabeth lets Mrs. Logue know how to pronounce "Ma'am" when addressing her.
- Invoked by Prince Albert to Lionel to call him "His Royal Highness". Defied by Lionel, who calls him "Bertie" instead.
- Title Drop: Right before the last scene, in reference to the first wartime speech by Bertie (now George VI).
- Training Montage: Numerous reviews have compared the film to a sports movie like Rocky, except the sport is public speaking. Oddly enough, there's only two such montages in here. Director Tom Hooper had to be pushed to insert them by Geoffrey Rush, as he doesn't like the montage as a film device in the least.
- The first such sequence may be an Anti-training montage; Albert goes through a ton of humiliating exercises, juxtaposed with his latest speech in which he still sounds horrid. Of course, that's exactly what Lionel wants, since his point is that mechanics alone won't fix Albert.
- Trickster Mentor: Logue.
- The Unfavorite: Albert was this as a child, as both his father and his nanny preferred his brother (at first, anyway). His stuttering didn't help very much.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: George V was a bit of a Jerkass to his kids when they were young, leaving them feeling a bit alienated from him. Unlike most instances of this, by the time the story takes place, George V actually does approve of the adult Albert/George VI (though still frustrated by his speech problems), certainly compared to his older brother, but past experiences mean that Albert doesn't think he's sincere. In real life he expressed preference for Albert and his daughter Elizabeth (who was 9 years old at the time) over Edward for the throne toward the end of his life.
- George V's last words were acknowledgments of Bertie as superior to his brothers; which he never actually told Bertie.
- Wham Line: "What if my husband were the Duke of York?" Cue Oh, Crap! look when Lionel Logue finally recognises that he's talking to the Duchess of York.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: During the film we see several speeches of Albert where he just can't get the words out. Then it cuts to the next scene. What happened? Did he give the speech? Did he just leave? Did he just stand there for 20 minutes?
- Probably left, out of embarrassment.
- Or maybe he finished the speech and it took him quite a long time to do so. Anyway, there isn't really a need to show all those speeches from the beginning to the end, they just imply whether he's made progress or not.
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: A very short one that notes Bertie and Lionel remained friends for the rest of their lives.
- The Wicked Stage: King George V remarks on this when discussing the importance of radio with Bertie after giving his 1934 Christmas address. The king tells Bertie to try reading the speech himself, and when Bertie refuses, he replies:"This devilish device will change everything if you don't. In the past, all a king had to do was look respectable in uniform and not fall off his horse. Now we must invade people's homes and ingratiate ourselves with them. This family's been reduced to those lowest, basest of all creatures. We've become actors."
- The Wise Prince: George VI.
- Young Future Famous People: George VI's daughter Elizabeth definitely counts. While she's mostly a background character during the film, her eventual ascendance is highlighted when Lionel tells Albert that if he takes the throne Elizabeth will become Queen. Albert, who is in firm "I don't want to be king" mode right now, tells him to put such silly thoughts out of his head.
Lionel: Forget everything else, and just say it to me.