Directed by: Stephen Finnigan
Starring: Nathan Chapple, Martin King, Joe Lovell
Running time: 94 min
Hawking is the extraordinary story of the planet’s most famous living scientist, told for the first time in his own words and by those closest to him.
Stephen Hawking is the world’s most famous scientist. He’s a best selling author and suffers from Motor Neuron Disease which has condemned him to a life where, essentially, he is trapped in his own body with only a voice box to communicate with the outside world. He is an inspiration to us all.
Hawking is Stephen’s story, told in his own words. It follows him from a being a young, fit and brilliant man to the man he is today. As his body starts to work against him he struggles with his life as a scientist and a husband before the inevitable takes over him.
As a story of hope Hawking works very well, his struggle with a disease that essentially should have killed him – he was given two years to live when it first took hold – his fight was not just for life but for knowledge.
As he became a prisoner in his own body he had to come to grips with the impact it would have, not just on him but on the ones he loved and cared for. By his own admission he became very difficult before embracing that unbeatable struggle and dedicating his life to answering the big questions of space and time.
While the story is inspiring and fascinating the production is rather by the numbers. A perfunctory documentary, Hawking should have explored not just the man but his work. We understand his life was difficult and had challenges on a daily basis for him and everyone around him – even work colleagues found simply talking and understanding him difficult – but at the end, disappointingly, it’s an extraordinary story told in a very ordinary way.
His story is a hard one to fathom but ultimately at the end of the tale, while inspiring, we don’t really feel we come away with a better understanding of the man, his work or the illness.
And that is a disappointment when you think about what he has achieved.