I will go ahead and tell you up front that I saw this movie because I have been a fan of Eddie Redmayne since his mostly cut role in The Other Boleyn Girl. And I was right to do so. Ladies and gents, the man was amazing. This isn’t just the crush talking. His performance in this movie is quite possibly the best acting I have seen since Sean Penn in Milk. I know I have been talking up a lot of acting this year and while there have been many solid to exceptional roles played Mr. Redmayne portrayed Hawking with such simple, easy beauty that I was moved to tears not our of sadness but out of overwhelming warm emotion.
Now, this movie, while good, was not perfect. I am not a fan of some of the choices made to further the story and foster an emotional connection. There were a few scenes that were made to look like old home movies. I believe these were used to try to make the family feel familiar to the audience through nostalgia while humanizing a man who few people probably naturally feel a comfortable connection with. I dislike intentionally filming something to look worse than it could be (I hate filters). But I also feel that Eddie, and the other actors, was good enough at his role that we didn’t need odd filmography.
This movie also felt as long as it was. That couldn’t be helped. Hawking’s journey towards becoming the man we know him to be is rich with necessary plot. While the movie can drag at parts I don’t believe anything needed to be cut.
While I could never say enough about my admiration for Eddie Redmayne in this movie I will move on and talk about the other good roles. His wife was exactly what she needed to be as an actor. Where Eddie could build an amazing character through studying the disease, Felicity had to find her character in relation to Eddie’s. She was a strong presence in the movie. I was impressed that she was not a secondary character. She held her own but didn’t cause any distraction from the key importance of the story.
The other role I will mention is the supporting character Jonathan played by Charlie Cox. If you have no reference for this man, he played the main character in the movie Stardust. If you still have no idea who I am talking about just know that the man was a delightful solid plot point that took a character with an ambivalent relationship to the main characters and made it everything it needed to be.
All the roles were well done. Without the professor, the best friend, and the assistant this movie would have suffered. I won’t bore you with the multitude of ways I can say someone acted well. They all did. There wasn’t a single role that wasn’t on point.
In the end, despite not being in love with some of the creative filmography choices made and the length of the story this movie is still brilliant. Each actor shines and causes the movie to be what I consider to be the best movie I have seen this year and for a few years back. And while it can feel heavy and the story isn’t always a happy one I left this movie feeling hopeful and warm. Unfortunately, I fear it will not get all that it is due since Interstellar came out to such applause. But I will touch on that at a later time.
Verdict: If you need action and fast paced plot to enjoy a movie you probably won’t thank me for suggesting you sit through this move, so I won’t. I am sure that this movie is not for everyone. But if you have the slightest inclination to see this movie or you want to see a deeper movie without being depressed after or if you want to see a movie that will overwhelm you with warm emotion then please go see this move.