I never thought I'd live to see the day when stuttering would be the subject of a serious mainstream movie. The condition, after all, has been coded as a joke in popular culture, one of the few disabilities considered fair game for laughs. The gag, passed down to generations of children by the dithering antics of Porky Pig and served up as giggly adult fare in "A Fish Called Wanda" and "My Cousin Vinny," is so culturally entrenched that when strangers first notice my struggle, their impulse is often to innocently chuckle, as though I were engaging in a little comic shtick to brighten our otherwise dull transaction....
Let me just say that the resolution is of a piece with so many things the film gets right about a disorder that can leave the sufferer feeling isolated and beleaguered, from the quandary over an appropriate profession to the exhausting worry over mortifying exposure. Probably the darkest period of my life was around the time I was just finishing graduate school and feeling completely overwhelmed with doubts about how I would make my way in the world. How funny that a future king could share my anxiety.
But "The King's Speech" is more than just a movie about stuttering. It dramatizes the difficulty of self-acceptance, the painful ownership of the life you have rather than the one you assumed you'd get. The film is also about finding one's voice, which I like to think of as a style of being that embraces the unique history you've been handed. Finally, it's about the possibility of incremental change, or, as a wise speech therapist once put it to me, "learning to stutter more easily," an approach that has had far more widespread application than I could have ever realized at the time.
A well-conceived and compellingly-told story told (pardon me) without sermonizing can bring a question, issue, or cause to light in a helpful way. The Stuttering Foundation notes that the film has brought immense light to the subject, generating much positive press.
And here is the speech in question.