In the early 1960s, Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) is showing signs of a brilliant mind for physics at Oxford – but also of a neurological disease that looks certain to end his life within two years. This film about one of the greatest physicists and cosmologists we’ve known can’t be lauded as an innovative trailblazer in the field of screen biographies. Its traditional pattern notwithstanding, the filmmakers have delivered a beautiful and touching story of a truly remarkable personal triumph. Attempts to visually and intellectually link Hawking’s life with his work in science are uneven, but Redmayne gives an outstanding performance.
2015-Britain. 123 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Tim Bevan, Lisa Bruce, Eric Fellner, Anthony McCarten. Directed by James Marsh. Screenplay: Anthony McCarten. Book: Jane Hawking (“Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen”). Cinematography: Benoît Delhomme. Music: Jóhann Jóhannsson. Cast: Eddie Redmayne (Stephen Hawking), Felicity Jones (Jane Hawking), Charlie Cox (Jonathan Hellyer Jones), Emily Watson, Simon McBurney, David Thewlis.
Trivia: Hawking was previously portrayed in a TV movie, Hawking (2004).
Oscar: Best Actor (Redmayne). Golden Globes: Best Actor (Redmayne), Original Score. BAFTA: Best British Film, Actor (Redmayne), Adapted Screenplay.
Last word: “When I got the part, James asked, ‘How are you going to go about this?’ Inside, I had no idea, but I put on this faux-professional face. I went back to this old-school way of working, which was to surround myself with a team. My instinct was that everything would affect everything. Physicality was going to have an effect on costume, on makeup, on voice. So it was James and I, with Jan Sewell, our makeup designer, Steven Noble, our costume designer, and a dancer called Alex Reynolds, who worked on ‘World War Z’ and did all the zombie movements. I spent six months going to ALS and motor neurone clinics, and meeting with people affected by the disease, and also their families.” (Redmayne, Huffington Post)