In His Weakness, He is Strong: A Review of "The King's Speech"

Elijah DavidsonThe King's Speech is first of all a very straightforward movie. This year has been replete with films with intricate plot structures that explore layers of reality and our perceptions of those layers. The King's Speech is about a man with a speech impediment and a lack of confidence in himself, who is forced by new technologies and a world in turmoil to deal with both.

The man is the eventual King George VI, although he isn't king when the movie begins. His speech impediment is a stuttering problem, the technology is the radio, his confidence problem is a result of his overbearing father and overshadowing older brother, and the global conflict is World War II.

The King's Speech is also a very good movie. The story is expertly crafted, the direction is fluid, and the acting is excellent. Films about the British royal family always carry an air of inaccessibility, but it is that very air that makes them engrossing. The best British royal films always show the royals to be just like the rest of us, albeit a bit more concerned with decorum. This too is all right, because they are, after all, not allowed to be themselves, but are carriers of an identity hundreds of years old.

At the core of this film is a question of weakness. Why do we have weaknesses and what are we to do with them? The (eventual) king stutters, but he hasn't always stuttered, and he simply can't not do the things his stuttering complicates. He has to cope.

We all have to cope. We all have potentially life-defining weaknesses. If we are particularly clever, instead of reaching inside ourselves to find the strength to overcome our weaknesses, we reach out. The king-to-be eventually reaches out, and (I'm not giving anything away about this historically-based tale) is able to give his speech. The Bible tells us that God's strength is made perfect in our weakness, because in our weakness we are made to rely on God, and God's power is made manifest in us (2 Corinthians 12). In our weakness we are strong, because in our weakness we depend on Christ.

All too often, we try to overcome our weaknesses. Instead, perhaps we ought to learn to rest in Christ in the midst of our weakness. Perhaps there is strength in our weakness of a different, stronger kind.

1/14/2011 5:00:00 AM
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    About Elijah Davidson
    Elijah Davidson is the Co-Director of Reel Spirituality at Fuller Seminary's Brehm Center for theology, arts and culture. Follow his reflections via Twitter, or at the Brehm Center blog and the Reel Spirituality website.