A look at the relationship between the famous physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife.
ActorsStarring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Harry Lloyd, David Thewlis, Emily Watson, Simon McBurney, Lucy Chappell, Charlotte Hope, Abigail Cruttenden, Christian McKay, Adam Godley, Charlie Cox, Maxine Peake, Tom Prior, Sophie Perry, Finlay Wright-Stephens
Review by: Andy Hayler
This biopic of Stephen Hawking could have easily been mawkish and disappointing as it deals with the life of the genius physicist trapped in a rapidly deteriorating body by the motor neurone disease that he develops as a student. Eddie Redmayne is a revelation as Hawking, handing the physical deterioration of the young Hawking until he is restricted to the wheelchair-bound body containing a vast intellect. He is paired well with Felicity Jones, who falls in love with the young Hawking and marries despite the inevitable and rapid physical decline that awaits him.
The brilliance of the film, apart from the superb performances, is the way in which it avoids Hollywood style tugging at the heartstrings. Instead we see Hawking’s wit, the only thing left to him apart from his mathematical genius, and there is enough humour to relieve what could easily have become an unwatchable descent into tragedy. As the film progresses, Redmayne’s portrayal becomes uncanny, as he seems to morph into the frail but very familiar body of the real-life Hawking.
It is hard to see how this film could have been improved as it manages to maintain an uplifting spirit while it tells the sad yet remarkable story of a truly remarkable man.
Review by: Bart Hartgring
Let me first say it is a beautiful movie. A biopic about Stephen Hawking it is not however.
I wasn’t expecting a science class, but I was expecting just a bit more of the scientific insights that make this man brilliant to come through in the movie – but they don’t. But, once you accept that and experience it as a romanticised story of the relationship between Hawking and his first wife Jane, it delivers.
The lead actors Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones both are very strong. If anything, this movie is actually at least as much Jane’s story if not more so, than Stephen’s. The movie manages to really engage and take you on an emotional rollercoaster without becoming sappy, which is due to its excellent acting, fine cinematography, and beautiful score throughout.
But I do suspect this movie will not end up on any top 10 lists in say a few years from now. It lacks real depth and insight in its story: it doesn’t provide any understanding of the brilliance of its lead character, and we don’t get real depth in either the happy or the sad times of Stephen and Jane – as a couple or as individuals.
Yet the movie is still beautiful, engaging and very much worth seeing.