This film is all about Stephen Hawking’s marriage to his wife Jane and his diagnosis with motor neurone disease.
I went to go and see this film in the cinema with my sister. I have always been impressed with Eddie Redmayne’s acting, but here he surpassed all expectations and brought the character of Hawking to life. The film offered a lovely (if slightly sugar coated rose-tinted) view of a younger Hawking who is voraciously intelligent and falls for beautiful arts student Jane.
Hawking is portrayed here as a voraciously intelligent Physics student who, little by little, begins to lose control of his body. His diagnosis of motor neurone disease at first seems like a death sentence, but Hawking here is always overcoming societal and personal expectation. When he meets Jane, the film looks at first to be the standard love story paradigm which audiences have come to expect. The film shatters expectations and bashes them to death with a wooden stake.
Being a biopic, this film is undoubtedly going to be very slushy in nature. Many times during the film I wanted to cry. Easily manipulated, probably, but the film is not going to let you easily sit back and turn your brain off for two hours. The film has also been called out for its representations of Hawking’s scientific theories. I am not much of a science bod myself, but the way the theories were represented – quick flashes of inspiration, say – is probably wholly unrealistic but if you want a scientifically accurate movie then go and watch a documentary.
As well as plenty of drama, the film had plenty of comedic scenes too, which earned a chuckle of amusement many times from myself and my cinema compatriots. It was a relief to have scenes of comic relief among the drama and emotion. Felicity Jones as Hawking’s wife Jane was good, although not as good as Redmayne. It was also amusing to see David Thewlis in this film, playing the role of Hawking’s professor.
At the heart of it, though, is the truth of having an intelligent mind while at the same time losing control of it through no fault of your own. Hawking is at first given a bleak prognosis and only a few years left to live, but throughout the film there are instances when you just wish him to be a person not fighting against a death sentence of a condition. During one scene, Hawking imagines that he is able to walk and retrieve a fallen pen from the floor. Such a simple scene, but when it is of course revealed to be nothing more than his imagination, it is probably the most poignant scene of all.
MY RATING: ***** / *****