Best Picture Reviews: The Theory of Everything, The Imitation Game

And here come the Brits…

The Theory of Everything directed by James Marsh
The Theory of Everything directed by James Marsh

The Theory of Everything


The Theory of Everything follows the story of renowned scientist, Stephen Hawking. The film starts with Hawking’s early days at Cambridge, and goes on till his meeting with the queen for the first time. Eddie Redmayne portrays Stephen Hawking and Felicity Jones his first wife, Jane. Redmayne and Jones hold together a somewhat confusing timeline with their stunningly emotional—and in Redmayne’s case—physical performances. Against the backdrop  of Hawking’s scientific accomplishments, the film hones in on the relationship between Stephen and Jane. The film is emotional and truly shows the difficulty the pair faced in living with Hawking’s early onset ALS. Although there are some issues with the timeline, Redmayne’s slow display of losing all motor function is compelling and worth a watch!


The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game directed by Morten Tyldum
The Imitation Game directed by Morten Tyldum


Directed by Morten Tyldum,The Imitation Game tells the story of Alan Turing, one of the most groundbreaking mathematicians of our era, whose work on the Enigma code was vital to the Allied victory in the Second World War. It also tells the tale of the man behind the genius. An intriguing mix of awkward, confident and naive Turing (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) does not fit in at school, or at Bletchley Park when he begins working as a cryptographer under Commander Alastair Denniston (Charles Dance). He finds a friend in Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley) however, who is also a pariah as the only female member of the team. Along with Hugh Alexander (Matthew Goode), John Cairncross (Allen Leech), Turing and Clarke fight against time to break the unbreakable Enigma code and win the war.

Jumping back and forth between a “present” narrative in which Turing is being investigated for homosexuality (criminalized in UK at the time), and a “past” in which we see his work during the war would be jarring if not for Cumberbatch’s excellent control of the screen. His physicality in conveying the differing times of Turing’s life makes it easy to understand which reality we are viewing. Knightley, Goode, and Leech are believable and likeable as Turing’s teammates and friends; sometimes exasperated, sometimes angry, they humanize him. Charles Dance is a compelling antagonist during the Bletchley Park years, playing the calculating Commander Denniston role with as much aplomb as he did the late Tywin Lannister.

Though Tyldum has taken some liberties with the truth in The Imitation Game, he has created an  emotional and captivating tale, bringing attention to the atrocities endured by Alan Turing and many others. As a tribute to the genius’ life, the film is a resounding success.


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