A dull account of Stephen Hawking's life and achievements from documentarian Stephen Finnigan
There’s no denying that Stephen Hawking’s astounding scientific discoveries have made him the world’s most famous scientist and that his life-long struggle with Motor Neurone Disease made him one of the most remarkable and inspiring people on the planet. This documentary about Hawking’s life, told in the man’s own words ought, then, to be both fascinating and stirring.
Oddly, however, it manages to be neither. Director Stephen Finnigan has secured contributions from many of Hawking’s family members, friends and colleagues, but the film fails to engage either the mind or the heart. What it does is deliver a dull account of Hawking’s life from childhood through university and the onset of illness to old age, along the way sketching in his scientific accomplishments.
The problem here is not the material, it’s what Finnigan does – or doesn’t – do with it. Much better was the 2004 BBC drama of the same name starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Hawking, and a far more exciting prospect is the forthcoming film, Theory of Everything, starring Eddie Redmayne and directed by Man on Wire's James Marsh.
Limited release from Fri 20 Sep.