The King’s Speech and unconventional teachers

2011-03-01

in Films and movies, Geek stuff, Psychology

The King’s Speech incorporates a trope that I think has been pretty well mined in Hollywood: the teacher who doesn’t follow ordinary rules of politeness. Think of Robin Williams’ character in Dead Poets Society. The language teacher in The King’s Speech differs from his peers in that he insists on treating the king as an equal, without the excessive deference other teachers showed. It is suggested that this attitude at least partly explains how he has more success than other teachers.

This also reminds me of the psychiatrist played by Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting. The brilliant protagonist has no respect for the ordinary psychiatrists. Indeed, he treats them with contempt. By contrast, the psychiatrist who isn’t afraid to be abrupt and rude with him proves to be the one who he ends up respecting, and who ends up having some success with him. Another example is the brilliant but caustic Dr. Gregory House.

There is certainly some truth to the trope. Excessive deference and politeness can produce impotence, in that people hesitate to raise even rather important issues with people who they see as their clear superiors.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

oleh March 1, 2011 at 11:10 am

An example in folklore is the boy who pointed out that the Emperor wore no clothes.

I found that the relationship between the commoner/ teacher and prince/student was the most interesting aspect of the film. An example was when the commoner told the prince that he could not smoke.

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