I saw a handsome, smart, and ambitious young man recently who unfortunately is suffering from anxiety and stuttering issues. His first assignment: watch The King’s Speech. I wanted to inspire him. And while you’re at it, please read my blog post on “Movie Therapy.” (“Feeling Sad, Anxious, or Just Out-of-Sorts? An Introduction to Movie Therapy,” February 19, 2013*) I wanted him to understand why and how movies move us, inspire us, and take us outside ourselves for healing.
In the meantime, my husband and I are behind on being moved, inspired, and taken outside ourselves with our movie list. It’s life these days. It is multi-faceted, moves at warp speed, and there is always another giant step to leap to.
So on vacation we finally got to watch The Imitation Game, based on the true story of Alan Turing who is considered the father of modern-day computing. Grateful to know the story. Not happy about the ending. But what can you do about these nasty things called facts?
So I wasn’t too excited to see the next DVD in the queue, The Theory of Everything, also based on a true story. This one of Stephen Hawking, famous physicist. I feared it would have some equally tragic plot line for the scientist in the story.
Yes, there was tragedy, and yet, so much, much more.
The story is based on Stephen’s ex-wife Jane’s account of their marriage from her book, Traveling to Infinity. Time Magazine’s Eliana Dockterman (Nov. 7, 2014) reported that Stephen called it “broadly true.” That was good enough for me.
It is a story of hope; human frailty; mind vs God; sacrifice; and ultimately resolution, reconciliation, and renewal. And that’s a plot line I can definitely get behind.
Stephen Hawking’s bestseller: A Brief History of Time (the writing of this book is detailed in the movie) is a science book for non-scientists, a layman’s guide to the world of such things as: black holes, the Big Bang, the origin of time, and science’s search for one grand, unifying principle. It has sold over 20 million copies.
Watching the movie about the advent of Stephen’s motor neuron disease and his promise as a physicist, I found myself feeling quite dazzled by his superior intellect. I was even thinking that the PhDs in the “soft” sciences like Social Work (my field), sociology, and psychology aren’t as valuable as those in the “hard” sciences like mathematics, physics, and engineering.
But as we got into the meat of the story, the marriage and family life of Stephen and Jane, it didn’t take long to realize that even the most renowned, learned, and exceptional brains on the planet still have to deal with people. With relationships. With emotional connections. And as a therapist, that is my cup of tea.
I highly recommend the movie. See if you can learn something about yourself and your relationships through it.
I’ve said before: it takes all of us working together on planet earth. Scientists, subjects, mathematicians, the math phobic, kings, paupers, the stutterers and the fluid of tongue. The young, the old, the wheelchair bound, and those fortunate enough to have full use of their legs. The single, the married, the divorced, and the remarried. The Einsteins, and the disabled.
And that, my friends, is my take on The Theory of Everything. It takes everyone.
I’ve ordered Jane’s book: Traveling to Infinity, as well as Stephen’s books: A Brief History of Time, and The Theory of Everything.
“The Theory of Everything.” (Release date: November 7, 2014) Now on DVD.