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Watch This: The Theory of Everything

Hi, readers! I know I have been off the blogging wagon for a little while now; (I’ve been more vigilant in my paper journal writing,) but as of recently I have finally viewed several films that are definitely worth sharing about. Today I took myself on a “me date” to the $2 movies to see the matinee of The Theory of Everything As you’re probably aware, last week during the Oscars Ceremony, Eddie Redmayne won the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking. I admired Redmayne for his craft the moment I saw him on-screen in My Week with Marilyn, (which I blogged about here in 2012,) but after seeing his performance in this film – WOW. The award was definitely well deserved. Both Redmayne and Felicity Jones, who played his wife Jane, gave absolutely outstanding performances.

I’m an emotional film watcher. Actually, I’m just emotional in general. I experience everything to an in intense degree whether it’s film, music, or written material. The Theory of Everything tremendously tugged on my heart strings, though. It was moving, it was inspiring, and it was made in such an incredibly exceptional manner. The cinematography alone is beautiful. I had high expectations for the visuals after the first time I saw a trailer, and I was not let down in the slightest. The film is such a beautiful depiction of struggle and triumph, of unconditional love, of hope of inspiration of living life to the fullest.

The opening scene, and it’s display of the gorgeous Cambridge, England immediately won my heart. The film takes you on the journey of Stephen Hawking’s life as a PhD in physics candidate at Cambridge, where he meets the ever lovely, Jane. He’s quirky and brilliant, and she’s intelligent and beautiful. Not long after their relationship begins, Hawking is diagnosed with a motor-neuron disease. The film follows them on their journey together, the obstacles he faces physical, and what that puts them through emotionally. The story of them building a family, him continuing his passionate endeavors in cosmology, and how the couple grows over the years.

I have to agree with what Eddie Redmayne himself had to say regarding the role:

[he would tackle the part in such a way that] “everything would be connected to everything. Because it is obviously the most extraordinary challenge and responsibility, to be trusted to tell the story of someone’s family, which is also a sensitive and complicated one. And to investigate all these aspects of this iconic human being: the physical, the vocal, the scientific, and then cohere it all in the emotional, because at its heart this is a very unusual love story. Young love, passionate love, family love, love of a subject, but also the failures of love and the boundaries of love.” (How Eddie Redmayne Did It article.)

That is precisely the story – a grand, unusual love story. I was challenged by this film. Challenged about my opinions of enduring love and relationships, and life and hardships and how our trials shape us, and also how the human heart can adapt to life. I was challenged to think about the boundaries of all aspects of life, as well – tangible and philosophical, what our relationships can withstand, the ever expansive possibility in life. This is such a stunningly beautiful film, and it’s driven with soul, and vision, and purpose. This is a splendid telling of the Hawking family’s story. If you haven’t seen the film yet, I highly recommend it!

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Watch This: The Descendants

I am sure you’ve all heard about this great film over the past year or so. I wanted to see it in theaters, but unfortunately didn’t catch it before it was gone. I knew then, I was missing out (it won Best Screenplay at the Academy Awards and Best Motion Picture and George Clooney won Best Performance by An Actor at the Golden Globes, along with a slew of other awards,) so I’ve been anxiously awaiting its DVD release. I had one of those weekly e-mails from RedBox last week, letting me know what was new, and to my surprise when I got home (after a wander around First Friday at Rail Road Square,) last Friday evening my roommate Alex and her friend David were about to start a movie and asked if I’d like to join them? Guess what they were watching? The Descendants! Needless to say, I was super excited and of course agreed.

The film (directed by Alexander Payne who also did Sideways,) is basically about a family dealing with the aftermath of their wife and mother Elizabeth, suffering critical injuries that lead to her being on life support following a boating accident. Clooney plays Matt, Elizabeth’s husband and father of two daughters – ten-year old Scottie and teenager Alexandra. He’s basically out of touch with his daughters, he worked a lot, and Alexandra was at a private school on the big island. The family lives in Hawaii, which makes for gorgeous scenery (and ukulele music) throughout the film. Matt attempts to navigate how he is going to take care of and handle his daughters that he hasn’t really spent one-on-one time with in years. Hilarity ensues as Alex insists that her friend Sid accompany the family on the visits to friends and relatives to inform them of Elizabeth’s condition. The sort of off-beat vibe of the film, as well as its basically dark comedy reminded me of one of my favorites Little Miss Sunshine.

I am a really sensitive person and normally the slightest emotionally moment in a movie has me in tears, but I found The Descendants had a great balance of intensity and laughter-evoking scenes. It was definitely moving, but I didn’t feel depressed from watching it. Clooney is and old favorite actor of mine, but I have to say I was impressed with Shailene Woodley’s portrayal of Alex. Having watched her in The Secret Life of the American Teenager, I was curious how she would pull this role of (obviously very well, according to critics.) I didn’t think I would take a liking to her, but I was pleasantly surprised.

I don’t like writing too much about the films I watch because I’d hate to spoil any of it, but I’ll tell you that I really enjoyed how this film doesn’t really romanticize life. There’s a definite edge of the pain and heartache that come from living in reality. Just because the situation at hand is sad and we know we’re about to be left with memories, we can’t paint them glossy in our minds and dismiss the rough parts.

If you haven’t experienced this film yet, and you’re interested in checking it out I say trust the critics (and me) on this one!

Watch the official trailer here: