Our last day of Oscar previews include two of the three biopics nominated for Best Picture this year, The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything (Selma is the third, reviewed here).
The Imitation Game
The Imitation Game was a critical and commercial success with nominations in 8 categories of the 87th Academy Awards.
This biopic film portrays a part of the life of Alan Turing, the mathematician who along with a select cryptography team (that eventually became literally thousands of people) were able to decrypt the Nazi Enigma Machine. The Enigma Machine gave the Nazis a decided advantage over the Allies during the first half of WWII. Although Turing was known to be difficult to work with, the film chooses to look at Turing through a psycho/social lens showing his challenges as though he had challenges like folks who we today have identified as being on the autism spectrum.
In the 1950s, Turing is convicted of indecency (homosexuality); in lieu of a jail sentence, he undergoes chemical castration so he can continue his work. Film female team member during the Enigma years, Clark, visits him in his home and witnesses his physical and mental deterioration. She reminds him that his work saved lives. She uses the phrase Christopher used of Turing and Turing once used of her: “Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.”
I personally enjoyed the film, firstly because I respect Cumberbatch as an actor and also respect folks who have remarkable skills and talents that set them apart from the masses — even though they may have had to struggle against tremendous odds to become “successful.” I also appreciate when a film attempts to create the context or social norms of a particular era in the life of a particular person, Turing, in this case. Whether “true” in facts of his life or details of his time as his work influenced the war’s ending years, the film is creditable to the WWII perspective of the Allies. The film was great on the “big screen”; I will definitely watch the DVD too. I hope the DVD includes additional footage of the subject (Turing) as well as impressions of the actors or makers of the film. I would definitely recommend this movie!
— Laura from KDL’s Plainfield Township Branch
The Theory of Everything
Based on the autobiography of Stephen Hawking’s first wife Jane Hawking, The Theory of Everything tells the story of renowned physicist Stephen Hawking and Jane — their relationship together and how that changed over time.
Truth be told, it is hard for biopics to work. Occasionally, the movie’s perspective can be too broad or the actresses/actors are not up for playing a part that has physical as well as emotional peaks and valleys. Thankfully, The Theory of Everything falls into neither of those traps. The movie covers Jane and Stephen’s meet-cute and subsequent courtship, which is endearing, and shows Stephen as more than a man of science. As the audience member though, it is hard not to see the relationship evolve and unfold without having part of your mind on the future and the awful reality that awaits Stephen. When the bombshell finally comes, the resolve that is shown by both characters makes the movie come alive.
Eddie Redmayne plays Stephen Hawking throughout and not enough can be said about his performance. He gives real emotion and depth to the character despite what seems, at times, an uneven screenplay. His counterpart, Felicity Jones, also gives a fantastic performance as Stephen’s loving wife, gracefully displaying the emotional and physical requirement Stephen’s care requires.
— Aaron from KDL’s Service Center