Hawking (TV Movie 2004) - Plot Summary Poster

(2004 TV Movie)


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  • A drama documenting the life and work of the theoretical physicist Professor Stephen Hawking who, despite being diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the age of 21, has galvanized the scientific world with his ground-breaking work on the nature of the universe.


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  • An amazing heartbreaking movie that makes physics dramatic and human. A young man working against the clock invents a way of collapsing all time together--in reverse--and rewrites Genesis Chapter 1. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Stephen Hawking--as in ¨Sherlock,¨ the actor must project a great godlike man who is simultaneously brilliant, isolated, disruptive, and vulnerable. Unlike Sherlock, part of what separates Hawking is that he must inhabit a ruined body. His Hawking has wit and charm, but that becomes camouflaged by the inability to move or speak in a coordinated way. Cumberbatch has to project the great mind and sensitive soul in small gestures and looks--without appearing to be forcing it.

    He plays the role brilliantly--showing the slow degrees of breakdown, which could have been become ridiculous or mawkish. Physics is poetry written in numbers--and Hawking is the Shakespeare of this odd and elite brotherhood. To show us this, Cumberbatch has moments where his smile is so beautiful and engaging we feel as if we've seen the ¨Big Bang¨ go off in his head. His small awkward march to deliver his universe shattering thesis is one of the most tender and inspiring things I've ever watched--and remember, I've watched Brando in the closing scene in ¨On the Waterfront.¨

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