Critics Call ‘King’s Speech’ Historically Incorrect
Posted on Jan 27, 2011
With “The King’s Speech” sitting comfortably atop this year’s heap of Oscar-nominated films, it’s not surprising that there might be some grumbles from critical corners about the movie’s actual merits. But in this case, a couple prominent voices are crying foul about the extent to which the historical drama claims cinematic license, particularly with regard to the character and allegiances of stammering King George VI. —KA
It’s as predictable as the Oscars themselves. A new front-runner often means some fresh round of attacks, and the charge of historical distortion is a perennial one.
In this case, intellectual gadfly Christopher Hitchens and the New York Review of Books’ Martin Filler are charging that the monarch in question was no better than a Nazi appeaser and, in Filler’s words, “a nitwit.” They paint a portrait of the wartime king that is far different from the shy family man essayed by Oscar nominee (and favorite) Colin Firth.
“‘The King’s Speech’ …perpetrates a gross falsification of history,” Hitchens wrote on Slate on Monday, saying the king was not worthy of hagiography. Fillers says the king had an uncontrollable temper and even struck his wife.
Royal backlash: Some critics think “The King’s Speech” paints too rosy an image of King George VI, played by Colin Firth, pictured with Helena Bonham Carter in this still from the film.