Penned and narrated by the eponymous “master of the universe”, Hawking chronicles the life of iconic physicist Stephen Hawking. This compelling documentary, directed by Stephen Finnigan (9/11: Voices from the Air), presents a very personal look into the inspiring story of one remarkably intelligent man who famously overcame his severe disease and disabilities and became arguably the most revered scientist of the modern world.
Featuring interviews with Hawking’s sister Mary and first wife Jane, the documentary gives a deep insight to the scientist’s formative years, and his life before he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease. With all that he has accomplished, Stephen Hawking is certainly an intriguing man, but due to the loss of his voice and facial muscles, it is easy to see how he might be hard to read. Through Hawking himself, and those closest to him, this film paints a vivid portrait of a witty and consistently inquisitive person. We see a clever child become a brilliant but unmotivated adult, and learn how his first love inspired him to become the man he is today.
Throughout the film, Hawking narrates the deterioration of his health with a matter-of-fact attitude that reinforces the sentiment that he should be an inspiration to all. In fact, the most notable characteristic about Hawking, as commented on by several interviewees including comedian Jim Carrey, is his raucous sense of humour. On his initial reaction to his very serious diagnosis, Hawking jokes: “I thought myself something of a tragic character – I took to listening to Wagner.”
With Hawking’s ready consent, Finnigan invites his audience into the everyday life of the mind behind the bestselling A Brief History of the World. Adopting the same blunt tone as Hawking himself, Finnigan shows us how the scientist lives and works with his severe disabilities – Hawking’s condition has grown so dire that he now communicates by twitching a muscle in his cheek! However, the film is not about motor neurone disease, rather the incredible man who is quietly living with it. Hawking is not presented as a disabled genius, he is quite rightly presented as the brilliant, funny, and vivacious man that he is. This is an admirable tribute to the most admirable of men.
Hawking is released nationwide on 20th September 2013.
Watch the trailer for Hawking here: