If this weekend at the box office doesn’t get the STEM education coalition the recognition it deserves, I don’t know what will. Hollywood is making mad love to science right now, with Interstellar, The Imitation Game, Big Hero 6 (cute!), and others like The Man Who Knew Infinity that are due to release.
But in the middle of all this binary, we have the true story of Stephen Hawking’s marriage. This goes beyond a simple biography or love story in that it extends to love of one’s life purpose and the honest failures and strengths we bear in trying to pursue it. The cinematography really captures this. The colors. The dancing. The spiraling of the camera. It all adds to the magic of chance; the years of life given and lived after having only two to go. The acting was superb too. I never really cared for Eddie Redmayne before this role. Not only was I now attracted (Yes, I’m into skinny guys with glasses – So sue me!), but I was mesmerized by his ability to channel the funny, lively genius of Stephen Hawking, rather than just a human machine with ALS. Felicity Jones also did a beautiful job portraying the heartbreaking tenacity of Jane Wilde.
What Hollywood really did here this year, was give science a heart. Neil deGrasse Tyson mentions in his interview with NBC on the science of Interstellar, that the scientists are the stars now. “…in the 1950s…..the scientist was the person you didn’t want to be,” he avers. People were once of a mindset that numbers were for machinery and useless ponderings of unseen structures. Anyone who chose to speak in numbers over pretty prose was definitely not to be envied.
Hopefully, this is taking a shift. The thing about numbers is that it’s just one universal system we use to understand things beyond human emotion. But if we really are the universe expressing itself as conscious beings, then we can’t ignore that the personal themes in this film are just as much science as Hawking’s area theorem. They somehow work together.
So before you indulge in the spectacular cinematic experience of Interstellar and the like, take an evening to catch The Theory of Everything. Because of this man, we are that much closer to turning science fiction into reality.