Madness of King George, The

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3 1/2

Content: -1

They say that there is a thin line between sanity and madness. Apparently, the loss of the American colonies in 1776 drove King George III of England across this line. The King (Nigel Hawthorne) in 1788 is vigorous and fiery, full of energy and disdain of the pomp of being king. But he descends slowly into madness, much to the chagrin of his loving wife, Queen Charlotte (Helen Mirren). His condition delights his oldest son, the indolent prince of Wales, who finally sees his chance to seize the throne. In a last ditch effort, the high officials of England seek the help of Willis (Ian Holm), a former Anglican minister who now works with the mentally ill. His radical new ideas include looking the King in the eyes, which was forbidden, and physically gagging and restraining the King. In a playing out of Shakespeare's King Lear, the King is comforted by this "fool," and may regain his senses before his son can take the throne. This film is well-acted and includes all the humor, pathos and intrigue of a good Shakespearean play.

Though not rated by the Motion Picture Association, the film contains very little offensive material. However, it is uncomfortable to watch the medical practice of producing welts by placing heated glass on the King's back, tying him down and gagging him, which comes close to torture. Also, once the King in anger tries to strangle his son. Several sexual remarks, mostly from the deranged King, and one scene of implied seduction and fondling off-screen are the only sexual allusions. The foul language is limited to mostly profanities, with some bathroom references. The King's condition has been thought to be porphyruria or "blue urine," which indicates a rare mental and physical disorder. For this reason, there is a lot of humorous attention paid to the king's evacuations. Apart from the regular profanity and few obscenities, this is a fine film whose humor and sadness is summed up in the mad King's unforgettable line, "I'm here, but I'm not all there."

Preview Reviewer: Greg Wilson
Samuel Goldwyn Co., 10203 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90067-6403

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Several (6) times - Mild 5, Moderate 1

Obscene Language: Few (3) times (references to excretion)

Profanity: Many (11) times - Regular 5 (J, G-d, JC, G), Exclamatory 6

Violence: Few times - Mild and Moderate (king tied up and gagged; king chokes his son; medical treatment burns king)

Sex: None

Nudity: Near nudity (man in underclothes)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Several times (references to intercourse, fondling of breasts; suggested fondling of man)

Drugs: None

Other: None

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.