Tuesday, 1 February 2011


‘The King’s Speech’ was really very good. Aesthetically, aurally, and intellectually pleasing, thought-provoking, witty, and most significantly, very moving. Safe to say I liked it. Particularly the moment King George VI hurls his voice at his speech therapist, “because I have a voice!” What a beautiful little sentence. The emotional investment in this film pays off when we see George take control over his voice, the culmination of which is a speech to the public that is deeply powerful. Because that’s what our voices do really, when used in accordance with our emotions, and co-ordinated with our intelligence, when they do what we want them to, our voices give us immense power.

Push this theory a little further, and it begins to encompass the world around us, politicians, activists, teachers, playwrights, singers, artists, kings, queens and reality TV stars, each and all are trying to make their voice heard, make it clear, so that the muddled ideas in their skulls become beautiful, become clear and obvious, so that we all wonder why we didn’t think it first. Our voices are power beyond belief.

A certain arrangement of words as opposed to another can be the difference between a slammed door or a silly argument, a vote for left or a vote for right, a successful salesman or a poor one. Without power over our voices, we rapidly lose power over the world around us.

And so it is to be expected that there are those who would misuse this power. The energy and tenacity with which Hitler spoke to Germany was enough to convince thousands of his cause, and thereafter deny thousands of their voice. To be refused the ability of speech, through dictatorship, censorship, or condition, is to be rendered powerless.

I watched ‘P.S. I love you’ last night, (a massive mistake, wept like a baby). It was hardly a masterpiece, but it was another film about words, and the power they encompass. When our voices are taken away, when we feel we’re not being listened to, we can feel isolated. But when we are able to share our voice, to make it clear and unaffected, we’re never really alone.

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