Analyse how symbolism was used to emphasise at least one important idea
In the film “The King’s Speech”, directed by Tom Hooper, symbolism was used to show the audience that we can overcome personal adversity with the help of authentic friendships. The director invites the audience to consider if we can ever really ‘defeat’ our fears or rather if overcoming our fears ever really meant their absence. The symbols of the microphone, flying and freedom are used to emphasise the importance of friendship to help us find the courage to face our fears. The director aims to show the audience the healing impact friendship has in overcoming trauma from our pasts in order to make the most out of our present. VERY GOOD INTRO, CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF KEY IDEA
The director uses the symbol of the microphone to represent Berties overwhelming fear of speaking due to his stammer. th roughout the film the microphone is purposefully dominant to illustrate how constricted Bertie is due to this fear. This idea is clearly shown in the opening scene in which Bertie must say a speech to a large crowd at Wembley Stadium. The camera holds multiple close up shots on Berties facial expressions in which his mouth quivers in terror and his eyes flicker and dart. This creates the impression of strong anxiety. Although the majority of the audience cannot identify with having a stammer, these invasive camera angels resonate as we can all relate to the painful, nerve wracking feeling that comes before we must do something that terrifies us. The ArchBishop of Cantubury says to Bertie “Let the microphone do the work,’’ just before he begins to walk up the stairs to do his speech. The camera is still close up making the audience feel like we are invading his personal space, making us feel conflicting emotions. We cringe and want to run away, to escape. This is parallel to how Bertie feels. The ArchBishops statement comes across condescending and unhelpful. This implication that the microphone must do the work implies that Bertie is incapable of speaking without assistance. The microphone symbolises how Bertie has no control over his fear and how his fear holds him back from fulfilling his duties and even more so holds him back from freedom. The camera holds a high angle shot as Bertie ascends the stairs making him look small, weak and minimised. In direct contrast to the low angle shot of the microphone which looks almost personified, the microphone looks powerful and dominant. The microphone is always in the frame, always in focus and always larger than Bertie. This symbolism sets up Berties fear of speaking and how much it stops him from being able to communicate. The microphone has this minimising effect on Bertie and the directors purpose is to establish how Bertie is human, a person who has fears. Tom Hooper purposefully uses the microphone as a symbol to show how Berties fear and how he is yet to “overcome” that fear.
THIS IS A VERY DETAILED AND RELEVANT POINT. A LITTLE WORDY IN PLACES, BUT GOOD DETAIL AND EXAMPLE.
The director uses the symbol of flight and freedom to show the impact Berties childhood and lack of real relationships has had on his fear of speaking. A scene after Bertie’s father has just passed away, Bertie and Logue bond uses this symbol of flight and freedom to clearly show that his stammer does not stem from a physical disability rather a powerful mental block which developed from childhood and, due to his lack of real trusting communication in friendship, has only gotten worse. The camera holds a mid shot of both Bertie and Logue, to show their equality. Logue begins to open up about his own problems with his father, putting himself in a position of emotional vulnerability. Logue shows his own weakness in order to show Bertie it is safe to open up, something Bertie has always been taught to avoid. Bertie asks Logue if he can glue some struts onto one of Logue’s son’s model planes. While Berties hands are distracted, he begins to open up about his struggle throughout childhood. Bertie is not just playing with the plane, he is constructing one. This symbolises how Logue has allowed Bertie to move on from the pain of his past. By exploring his past traumas with a friend he has been able to heal the parts of his childhood that were restricting his freedom. Tom Hooper has purposefully AND EFFECTIVELY ( remember to make the judgements too) shown Bertie assembling the toy plane specifically to illustrate how he is rebuilding his confidence and gaining his own freedom, the freedom to metaphorically fly away. The freedom, no longer to escape, but to be free of his fears that had held him back since childhood. We learn that Bertie was never allowed freedom, the plane symbolises how Bertie was never allowed to have a normal childhood. When Bertie has the courage to open up to Logue about the roots of his problem we sense a change in Bertie. The release of that withheld emotional baggage allows Bertie to understand his fears which helps hugely in his journey to control them. There is also a scene where the plane symbol is used in which David, Berties brother, flies into Sandringham Estate with casual arrogance while Bertie nervously paces back and forth. This shows that David has no moral obligation to the throne and does not feel tied down or restricted by his royal duties. In direct contrast to how Bertie is completely paralyzed by his royal obligations and fear that he cannot fulfill them. The director uses this plane symbol to show two things. Firstly, how Berties restrictive, impersonal childhood was the source of his fear and hence his stammer. Secondly, to show the audience his journey to freedom. His desire to escape combined with his desire to be free from his fear of speaking which holds him back from fulfilling his duties. THIS IS ANOTHER VERY LONG POINT, IN FACT IT IS ALMOST TWO DIFFERENT POINTS.
TRY TO VARY YOUR OPENINGS HERE The director uses the microphone symbol again in the ending scene in order to show Berties development from the fearful Duke of York to the more confident King. In the ending scene where Bertie makes his first wartime speech, the microphone no longer dominates the shots. Bertie is now in focus and the microphone feels smaller and much less powerful. The microphone symbolises Berties journey and how although the fear is not gone, he is now much more able to speak alongside his fear with much less of a stammer. The minimisation of the microphone combined with the cameras focus on Logue highlights the power friendship has to help us explore our fears in a safe and non judgemental environment. GOOD DISCUSSION OF POINTS COMBINEd The directors purpose here is to show the healing impact friendships have on guiding us through personal adversity. Logue says to Bertie before before the speech “Forget everything else and say it to me… Say it to me as a friend.” This illustrates that Bertie is no longer focused on the microphone which shows he is no longer consumed by his fear of speaking. He is now focused on Logue, meaning he is more focused on the success of his journey rather than the anxiety of the result. After the successful speech the microphone is no longer in the frame and Logue says “Well done, your majesty”. This symbolises that Bertie has control over his fear and can therefore be free from it. The directors purpose CAN YOU COMMENT ON HOW EFFECTIVE THIS IS. here is to show that through Berties courage in opening up to Logue and developing a supportive friendship he has been able to confidently combat his fear and therefore fulfill his royal duties. He has stepped up into the role of a King.
Overall the symbolism of the microphone and the plane allowed the director to show the audience Berties development. This was purposefully done to illustrate how friendship can help us to overcome our fears. We see that we can in fact change, we can grow and learn to control these personal fears. The development of Bertie and Logues friendship gave Bertie the courage to combat his fears, symbolised by the microphone and the ability to be free from those fears giving him, finally, a sense of personal freedom, symbolised by the plane motif.
YOU KNOW THE FILM WELL and HAVE A STRONG UNDERSTANDING OF THE MAIN MESSAGE AND DIRECTORS PURPOSE.
WATCH REPETITION IN SOME PLACES!