…and to all a good night!
Over the weekend I finally got a chance to see The Theory of Everything. I’ve been dying to see it for a while now but my schedule and the winter holiday season has kept me pretty busy, which is great, but on Sunday I was able to get together with one of my college friends, have brunch, and go see the movie.
My Pre-viewing Thoughts
I can’t say that I am a science person at all. The last time I took Physics was senior year of high school, and I still believe that the only reason I did well in the class was because I took extremely neat notes (I knew it wasn’t my subject so I was ready to tackle it head on) and I had a really great teacher. But still I actively avoided a lot of science in college, despite the number of friends I have who are into the subject. I’m not the type of person who would leap at a chance to see a Stephen Hawking movie. But I did. So here’s why.
1) Eddie Redmayne
I have been a huge Eddie Redmayne fan for years, mainly because of his performance in Les Mis (which I am also obsessed with), but I was also sort of aware of who he was a little before then. So when I heard that he was going to be in this, my interest was piqued. Also he is married now, and I am happy for him, but also a little more sad than I really should be…
2) The Trailer I think first saw the trailer for The Theory of Everything a few months ago when I was looking up something on imdb, and I was instantly intrigued. Since then I have watched the trailer more times than I would care to admit in anticipation for the movie. Just something about the music overlaying the voice overs with their selection of scenes and the story as a whole really got me.
3) David Thewlis aka Remus Lupin
I only really know David Thewlis as Remus Lupin, one of my favorite characters from Harry Potter, and I don’t think i have ever seen him in anything else, so that also got me interested as well. I must say part of me wanted him to offer chocolate to Eddie Redmayne at some point in the movie to help him along (it works wonders against Dementors).
My Post Viewing Thoughts
So here are my thoughts after watching the movie. It wasn’t exactly what I expected, but then again I’m not entirely sure what that was. And if it had ended up being entirely what I thought, I don’t think it would have been as good. They do cover a good portion of the movie in the trailers, but since it is a true story, and Stephen Hawking’s life and work is so well known, it doesn’t give away as much as if this had happened with a fictional story. I thought there was still enough that wasn’t shown in the trailer to make it interesting. I felt like I needed a day or two to fully process what I saw, so here are my somewhat processed thoughts.
1) Eddie Redmayne (again)
Portraying Stephen Hawking on screen is a huge challenge because of his fame and body of work alone, not to mention ALS, which he was diagnosed with while he was in graduate school at Cambridge. In interviews Redmayne talks about the work and research that went into him learning both about Stephen’s theories and ALS as a whole.
They had to chart what muscles were still working at what points in the film, primarily from photographs, and then Redmayne had to learn how to accurately portray that on screen. Plus, since films aren’t shot in chronological order, he had to be able to jump around to different points in Stephen’s life within the same day. There is some serious acting talent and dedication needed to pull that off well.
I’ve found that I really enjoy hearing about “behind the scenes” stuff like this, whether it is in movies, tv shows or books, so I really appreciated how honest Redmayne was about the work and dedication he needed to put into this job. The other challenge that comes with playing Stephen Hawking is his voice machine.
Since Theory of Everything covers a long span of Hawking’s life, his voice machine isn’t introduced until about the last third of the movie, but it was well into his time in the new wheel chair that I realized that Eddie Redmayne as a actor had no more lines in the movie. And yet his role was far from being over. That just meant that he had to find a way to express himself, whether it was through the pauses in conversation, or expression and eyebrow movements. That is a whole other challenge for him as an actor, which he tackled head on.
I saw this when I was watching interviews about Les Mis, but it was just emphasized even more here – I really enjoy the challenges that Eddie Redmayne goes after as an actor, and the amount of work he does for them. He also has had such a variety of roles that he won’t be type cast any time soon. The other actor that I think of with challenges in roles is Jennifer Lawrence. There are obviously more, but I’ve just seen Jennifer Lawrence and Eddie Redmayne talk more about the behind the scenes preparation that goes on for a role, and they both go after really varied and challenging parts. The third person i think of with this is Daniel Day Lewis. I still haven’t seen Lincoln, but I really want to. I just really like hearing about actors, and authors for that matter, pushing themselves and trying out new things.
No one wants to see your homework,
Redmayne has said in multiple interviews when asked about the research he had to do for the role. The results should be there, but it is not the main focus of the plot. Which leads me to
2) The Story
While I have read reviews that say there should be more science in the film, I personally like the way they showed the story. I knew the very very basics about Stephen Hawking before this movie, and I didn’t know who Jane was at all.
Stephen is such an icon that I liked that the story focused on the more personal relational side of his life. It fleshes out his character more than if they had just focused on his fame and theories. They focused on him as a person rather than him as a legend. There is one scene where Hawking’s father reminds him that he is world famous, but it is set in a garden with his family around him – a very private scene compared to a very public fact.
The other thing that the story covers well is Stephen’s humor throughout the movie, which also expanded his character even more. Here is this guy who is going through so much, much more than most other people go through in their lifetimes, and his sense of humor stays with him throughout the film and throughout his life. That is something that Redmayne commented on when he met Stephen Hawking a few weeks before filming began, and the writers and James Marsh, the director, really worked to emphasize. Reedmayne also talked about this in an interview. He said,
Stephen lives with such optimism that there was a sense of optimism that ran through [the movie].
3) Felicity Jones
I must say I hadn’t seen a movie with Felicity Jones in it before watching this (I am a little hopeless when it comes to celebrities), but this was a great role for me to be introduced to her in. A lot of her character was split between being a young girl in school infatuated with a boy, and caring for him while he has the disease, raising three kids, and doing her own work. I thought she portrayed these two sides of the role really well, and I the stress and the nitty gritty details of dealing with ALS were all shown realistically. While I have heard that there are some parts of the story that aren’t exactly true to life, I think she did a great job emoting her character and really showing it on screen. All in all both she and Eddie Redmayne deserve those Golden Globes they have been nominated for.
4) Science vs. Religion
This was another theme that was slipped in at various points throughout the movie. I wasn’t expecting it, but it makes sense with the themes of the film, and with Stephen’s interest in time and space and the beginning of time that religion would find a way to slip in one way or another. Jane is a Catholic I believe, and that was how that thread started, but it could have been very easy for the science vs. religion debate to become too heavy handed and overdone which didn’t happen, so I appreciated that, and I thought it was well executed.
5) The Cinematography
I am in no way a film student, and usually things like cinematography go over my head, but I really enjoyed a lot of the shots in Theory of Everything. Bits of the more cinematic scenes can be seen in the trailer, but there are more in the film as a whole. There is a lot of spinning and circles throughout the film, but it is all done in a beautiful artistic way that again isn’t overly stated I thought. And the circle motif goes well with time and “winding back the clock” and all that. I also liked the artistic bits because it went well with the “Science?” “Arts” conversation that Stephen and Jane had at the beginning of the movie when they first met, and the cinematography is a good way to fit the arts into a “science movie” (I use quotes because really it’s not a science movie but you know what I mean).
The Theory of Everything is up for 4 Golden Globes including Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones for Best Male and Female in a Drama respectively, Best Motion Picture, Drama, and Best Original Score. But even if it wasn’t up for four awards, and I’m sure more when Oscar season fully rolls around, Stephen Hawking has said that he enjoyed Eddie’s performance, and at time he forgot that Eddie wasn’t himself. If that isn’t the highest praise then I don’t know what is.
Well, this has turned out to be a pretty long post because I have a lot of feelings about this movie, and I knew I wanted to post about it before even watching it, but I would love to hear anyone else’s thoughts on the movie so please leave comments below! I also am planning on seeing The Imitation Game soon, which is also up for a number of Golden Globes, and I’m really interested to see how that all pans out. My bet is on this, but I also love Benedict Cumberbatch, so we’ll just have to wait and see…
It looks like it is turning out to be another busy week for me, but I just wanted to show you all (whoever is reading) this great Buzzfeed article I came across this morning – 51 of The Most Beautiful Sentences in Literature as suggested by the general public, I believe.
There’s something inexplicable about a really well written sentence that I love. The really good ones make me put a book down for a second to pause and enjoy them. This list covers everything from Russian Literature to Where The Wild Things Are to general YA books and Harry Potter (Dumbledore, of course) to American classics. It covers the whole field.
So take a break from your busy day to scroll through and see if any of these sentences give you that inexplicable happy feeling. Happy Wednesday!
Hello everyone! I hope you all had wonderful and filling Thanksgiving. I didn’t end up posting last week because of the holiday, but I had a great vacation in Long Island filled with down time, food, good books, and walks to the beach. I also have a few book reviews lined up for the future and a much longer to read list than I did before, so there’s that to look forward to.
Last night I had trouble falling asleep. This isn’t that rare – I’m naturally a night person. I go to bed on the later side, and I have often found that it is easier for me to do work, especially writing, late at night. Also, yesterday I was thinking about finding a good avatar for my tumblr site and for Steam (which I also got back into over the holiday thanks to a friend of mine.) I wanted one that was special for me rather than something I randomly found off the internet, and I kind of wanted it to be a drawing, but I didn’t have any drawings of me that my friends made or anything. So I decided to make one myself.
This also happens somewhat regularly, although not as regularly as my random insomnia. I have dabbled with drawing for a long time. I had a serious anime phase in ninth grade which included a drawing interest as well, but I found that I got caught up on the eyes or the symmetry of a face. I would draw one eye and then try and recreate it and all hell would break loose. I also think I started with the eyes, which made the proportions a little weird from the start. Eventually I got frustrated and decided that I couldn’t draw and moved on with my life.
Then a few years ago, in another bout of insomnia I randomly copied a sketch I found off the internet. I’m not sure whose picture it was, and I don’t have the copy or the photo I took of it anymore, but I was surprised at how well the picture turned out. It was just of a girl with long hair resting her head on her hand, but I was very proud of myself. Maybe I could draw after all.
I feel like a lot of authors can also draw, and its always been something I’ve wanted to do. It would be so handy to be able to sketch characters and have them come out (at least somewhat) the way you pictured in your head. I feel like that would make the whole character/world creation process much more complete for me. So after my success with the internet sketch, I decided to draw a character of mine. And it didn’t work. I drew a girl with wavy hair but that was it and I didn’t really connect her with the character she was supposed to be. So I wrote off drawing again.
But then last night I decided to give it another go. I’ve also been casually talking with a friend of mine about what if we took drawing classes (again these conversations are late at night and nothing really comes from them other than hype), but I tried the copying method of drawing again. Because I wanted that avatar.
So I went through my facebook profile pictures and found one that I thought was pretty simple. It was from when I went to visit my godmother down in Florida the year before last, and I am sitting by the pool with shades and an iced tea. I chose it because my hair was in a ponytail, which isn’t too hard to recreate on paper, and the fact that I am wearing large sunglasses solves the eye problem I had back in my anime days. And I was pretty pleased with the results, as far as avatars go.
So in my sleepless excitement I decided that I would have to go out and get a sketchbook, because I always like keeping things like drawing in one place if I do decide to continue down this path. So I went to Sam Flax this afternoon as a break and got a pretty nice sketchbook on sale – the Sam Flax near me is going out of sale and while I don’t go there too often I’m pretty sad about it.
The sketchbook is pretty nice I think. I’m not a sketchbook expert or anything, but I always enjoy a new notebook. It has very smooth pages – I really don’t like the rough page sketchbooks for drawing, and it’s not too thick, which is good in case this drawing thing is short lived, which it very well might be. I liked the cover of a different one more but it was thicker and a little more expensive. What can you do. They were both black, but the other one was smoother. Oh well.
I traced the drawing into the book, which also didn’t take too long because the pages are pretty thin, but I did notice that when I went over it in ink, it bled through to the back of the page. Not on to the next page though, so I just won’t use both sides of the page if I trace things over with pen. That still means I have 79 unused pages to go though, so I should be good.
I also have a “Drawing” folder on my computer with some of my friends’ profile pictures I can use to practice – I’m not a creeper I swear. I found a few that were just one person and looked like they could potentially be simple. I could also move on to actors or something like that if I’m feeling really ambitious. Or maybe animals? Still life? Just as long as I stay on the “copying” side of thing for now. Who knows?
Also not only are film scores good to write to, they are also good to draw to as well.