Director: James Marsh
Year Released: 2014
Brilliant physicist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne), in the process of courting future wife Jane (the adorable Felicity Jones), discovers something is off about his motor skills and is eventually diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) - his being confined to a wheel chair and being unable to speak without the aid of a computer puts a strain on his marriage (she starts to develop feelings for a local pastor, he starts to fall in love with his nurse). The framework could not be more derivative - it's essentially A Beautiful Mind (with physical disease replacing mental disease) mixed in with The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - and predictable: Hawking's physical deterioration and aversion to religion (he's a scientist, Jane!) leads to their inevitable split, and though much in-fighting between the two transpired in real life, the cinema has a way of making that all blurry (so that the two can celebrate, at the end, the children they made!). Not enough can be made of Redmayne's transformation - it's not only respectful to Hawking (who was said to have gotten choked up during a screening), but also an actorly feat: confined to his immobilized state, he's still able to convey a sense of emotion and heartache. I sort of wish Marsh delved further into Hawking's theoretical concepts with this one (he doesn't) ... but then again, one could always read A Brief History of Time at one's leisure (which I recommend).