The Theory of Everything

Alternate Title: The Stephen Hawking Movie
2014 Nominee

Stephen Hawking AKA the guy from the Harry Potter movies that aren’t Harry Potter movies (Eddie Redmayne) falls in love with Jane AKA the lady from the newest Star Wars movies (Felicity Jones). Gather, nerds. We must unite!
By the end of the film, you still won’t understand anything about black holes or space or the fabric of the universe because the movie is more about relationships with people than with time or space. People are the matter that truly matters.

There is some science jargon. There’s even some medical jargon related to Hawking’s diagnosis of Motor Neuron Disease, which is Lou Gehrig’s disease, which is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Remember when everyone in the universe was dumping ice water on themselves? They were fighting this disease, one frigid-ass shower at a time.
The whole film touches on the dynamics of love and – briefly – addresses the principle of time in relation to love. There’s just enough science to make you feel smart, but still not smart enough to read A Brief History of Time and have the faintest idea what it all means.

There isn’t a lot of Hollywood drama clouding the reality of the situation. In fact, there isn’t a lot of Hollywood dialogue either, but that’s partially because Hawking’s disease made it progressively more difficult for him to speak (until they made him an American robot voice, of course).
What I appreciate the most is that the film demonstrates how two people can still love each other with change. Love even develops for other people, but none of the characters end up demonized. There isn’t a lot of black and white when it comes to love or time (just black holes). Instead, the film delves into how relationships expand just as the universe expands and that love, like time, can be infinite if you simply allow it to exist for what it is at any given moment.

The Theory of Everything left me a little dizzy. Not only does it feel like a tremendous lot  of information to take in, but there are literal circles in the whole thing. The way scenes are shot, circular objects, and the notion of time itself all encompass an idea of circular motion and the cycle of life.
Sit somewhere comfortable for this one.

Now it’s Your Turn…
The Theory of Everything was nominated for Best Picture in 2014, but did the Academy get it right?

 

Room

Alternate Title: Oh the Places We Might Go if We Ever Get Out of Here
2015 Nominee

You might have no room left in your body for emotion after watching this. From the get-go, you are just like Jack (Jacob Tremblay) and your world is almost as small as his, except that you’re watching a movie and you know that room is not all there is to it.

Jack turns five and on this momentous birthday, Ma (Brie Larson, the best part of the show United States of Tara) decides to tell Jack that their Sunday visitor, Old Nick (Sean Bridgers) kidnapped Ma when she was 17. Ma reveals that her name is Joy and that their home, room, is not the universe. In fact, Ma explains that lots of things Jack sees on TV are actually real things and that Ma and Jack have to escape.
Although five, Jack is unprepared for the shock of this news. It takes a little time, but he eventually warms up to the story Ma has told him and agrees to try and help them get out of room.

Everyone knows the heart-stopping stories of young women who have been snatched away, only to return home years later. Few people consider the trauma and heartbreak endured by these women for years – even after the events. It’s not something the media focuses on when the stories are supposed to be about triumph and survival.
The fact is that survival is such a powerful word because it carries with it struggle and sacrifice. Survival implies overcoming a harrowing force. Room paints this picture, but from the innocent viewpoint of a five year-old boy who doesn’t understand the overwhelming danger and beauty of the whole wide world.
Room is a unique take on a haunting story everyone has heard because no one has ever heard it quite like this.

Now it’s Your Turn…
Room was nominated for Best Picture in 2015, but did the Academy get it right?