Before this film I knew very little about Stephen Hawking other than that he was a scientist, in fact I had just assumed he was born with Motor Neuron disease. I saw the trailer for this and thought it seemed like a good film. In fact I had no idea how good it was going to be.
After seeing Eddie Redmayne winning Best Actor in a Motion Picture award at the Golden Globes, I was expecting a brilliant performance but I was not prepared for what I saw in the film. Of course I knew that I was going to see his transition into a wheelchair but I wasn’t expecting it to be so honest and dramatic. What I think works well in this film is that the story is told from both sides as it covers his wife Jane Wilde story, which in many ways I found more powerful. You see the tension in the relationship and their very real struggle. It is an incredibly emotional film to watch, which I wasn’t expecting at all. The part that moved me the most was where his wife had to make the difficult choice for him to have surgery, which meant he would lose his voice. Then there is a scene where she introduces a board and he has to blink to indicate what he wants to say, leading to a very tearful moment where he mouths “I love you.” The very real characters and the very honest story is what makes the film so powerful.
A film such as this which deals with a real person is difficult to make. Eddie Redmayne himself only met Stephen Hawking a couple of times and I assume his disability is very difficult to reproduce, and I felt he did it so incredibly well. He portrayed his deterioration so perfectly and I do not think I have ever seen an actor use their body in such a realistic way. In addition you had the change in his voice and positioning of his head, making the perfect visual interpretation of Stephen Hawking complete.
Now as a media student I often like to watch films but I find it difficult to find something that amazes me and makes me just focus on the story. I went with my flatmate who I have mentioned is also a Masters’ student, and she was very much of the same opinion that this was the best film either of us had seen in a long time. This film was so emotional, funny and powerful I am now a bit obsessed with Stephen Hawking and have 3 of his books wish listed.