Movie Reviews - Featured Films » Independent Film Guide - B

A Brief History of Time Movie Review

hawking stephen morris film

Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking was given two years to live when he contracted Lou Gehrig's disease in the early 1960s, but, over three decades later, he shows no indications OR inclinations of fulfilling that prophecy. As always, Errol Morris does a remarkable job of communicating an interesting subject on his own unique terms. Even if you barely squeaked by with a “C” in physics, A Brief History of Time supplies many lucid and compelling visualizations of Hawking's theories. One quibble is that Morris does not identify the many speakers in the film until the final credits. This wouldn't even work in a book, much less a movie! We figure out who Hawking's mother and sister are, but the comments of his many scientific colleagues have less of a context, since non-scientists don't know who they are (until after it's over) or what any of them have done, ever, unless they look it up. Yes, the movie is about Hawking, but who the heck ARE all these guys who talk about him at length? The final shot is both poignant and eloquent: Hawking's wheelchair, labeled “STEPHEN,” is shown against a starry sky. Left out of the film is the fact that Hawking was then in the process of divorcing his longtime wife Jane, unseen except in early candids, but much-discussed on camera. He married his longtime nurse Elaine Mason in September, 1994. Hawking, who has not been able to speak since 1985, said his wedding vows through a voice synthesizer created by his bride's ex-husband.

1992 (G) 85m/C Stephen Hawking; D: Errol Morris; W: Stephen Hawking; C: John Bailey; M: Philip Glass. Sundance Film Festival ‘92: Filmmakers Trophy. VHS, Closed Caption

Brilliant Lies Movie Review [next] [back] Brief Encounter Movie Review

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or