This post is about an extraordinary human and a film that depicts his life. He was the perfect exemplification of a man who had the will to live and did so, despite the odds, and doing what he loved. Why I called this post, “the power of human will 2” is because I am writing about this theme for the second time. The first time I wrote about it, was about the film ‘Breathe’ , another real life story, which you can read here .
This second review is on a film with a similiar theme but with an entirely different background. Also, I am pretty sure most of you know why I marked this post as a tribute. As I was about to write a review on this film, I heard the man who this is based on passed away, yesterday, March 14. And that man is none other than, Stephen Hawking. Since I write reviews and other similiar posts, I felt that a review on a film based on his story would be most apt as a tribute,especially since he is someone I admire a lot.
Stephen William Hawking was a theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge. As contributions to the field of Science, gravitational singularity theorems that were developed along with Roger Penrose, general relativity and theory that backholes emit radiation, amongst many others. I do not need to tell you more about his achievements. We already know of his contributions to the world of physics and cosmology. Apart from these contributions, Stephen Hawking had been diagnosed with an early onset slow progressing form of a motor neuron disease. According to his doctors, he was going to live for less than two and half years. But surpassing everyone’s beliefs, he lived to an age of 76. Despite being slowly paralysed, he continued to communicate with the help of a machine that converts signals from his cheek movements to speech. The fact that he managed to continue on even despite the severe obstacles is definitely an inspiration for many of us, who give up at the slightest of setbacks. So here goes my review as a tribute to the amazing Stephen Hawking.
Before I begin, let me add that the film is not the most accurate representation of his life. It was a rather dramatic recounting of mostly his relationship and family, more so than his other achievements.
Country of origin: United Kingdom
Directed by: James Marsh
Based on: Travelling to infinity: My life with Stephen by Jane Hawking
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox, Emily Watson, Simon McBurney, David Thewlis
Music: Jóhann Jóhannson
Released: 1 January 2015
Duration: 123 minutes
Genre: Biographical romantic drama
The setting is at the university of Cambridge where Stephen Hawking, an astronomy student, first notices Jane Wilde, a literature student. Both of them are attracted to each other, and eventually fall in love. Stephen is a source of worry for his professors as he hasn’t chosen a topic for his thesis. But after attending a conference, he decides to do his thesis on black holes and how it must have affected the creation of the universe.
However during that period he has recurring episodes of his muscles failing him, eventually leading to a collapse. The doctors diagnose him with a degenerative motor neuron diseases which will slowly paralyse his whole body. The doctors give him two and and half years to live. He asks the doctors what will happen to his thoughts, and they said-
Your thoughts will be fine. It’s just that Noone will hear them.
Despite knowing the difficulties involved, Stephen and Jane marry and have three children. Within that time, Stephen does his thesis on black holes and achieves many more things. But his disease also worsens leading him into a wheelchair. Soon, his and Jane’s relationship become strained what with Jane too busy with his fame, their children and taking care of him, to do her own thesis. The story that follows are the developing strains of their relationship , Stephen’s progressing disease, his increasing achievements including the publishing of his book, ‘A Brief History of Time’.
The film is a spectacle to watch. Whether you are a person of Science or not, this film is relatable and touches our heart in ways we didn’t know. Diseases like this, swallowing up a person’s life is mostly viewed as an end to life. This story is definitely an inspiration that there is nothing that cannot be acheived, as long as we have the will. That’s the wonderful thing about human spirit.
The story is not an accurate representation of Hawking’s life. As I mentioned before the stiry was based on the relationship between him and Jane, and not on his achievements. But, I wouldn’t rule this out completely. The contributions that he made as a scientist, is known to all of us. But the story of how his family coped with it, and how he achieved it all against all odds was interesting.
The setting,the characters, the cinematography and the music were all beautiful. It’s not a wonder how it got so many nominations and wins after its release. Eddie Redmayne deserves a special mention for his wonderful performance as Stephen Hawking.
I’d like to wind up this special tribute post by recounting a particular scene in the movie.
At a lecture, Stephen sees a student drop a pen and imagines himself to go pick it up. Although he understands the gravity of the loss this disease brought for him, he says at that time-
There should be no boundaries to human endeavour. We are all different. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope.
So for anyone who is troubled with the pains and woes of life, for those who are thinking of giving up, I just have one thing to say.
Be inspired by amazing people like him. Continue to fight. Never give up. Live.
Image courtesy: Google