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This is the intimate and revealing story of Stephen Hawkings life. Told for the first time in Hawkings own words and with unique access to his home and public life, this is a personal journey through Hawkings world. Extended Theatrical Version.
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Top Customer Reviews
"My name is Stephen Hawking. For the past fifty years, I have travelled the world studying and lecturing about time and space. This film is a personal journey through my life, told in my own words. Come with me and I will tell you the story of how I became who I am."
The above is found at the beginning of this extraordinary autobiographical documentary about the life of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. (He "was born in 1942, exactly 300 years after the death of Galileo.")
I personally have read quite a bit on Hawking but what made this film special to me was that:
(1) It was entirely narrated by Stephen Hawking.
(2) Brief comments were made by such people as his siblings, care giver, school friends, university friends, professors, software experts, biographers, his first wife, physicists (like Roger Penrose, Kip Thorne), and his present and former students.
(3) We actually get to see Hawking in his natural environment and get to actually see the people mentioned in (2) above.
We also learn about his science ("I was writing the rule book for black holes") and the progression of his devastating illness whose spectre is always present.
We also get to see the good and the bad of worldwide celebrity.
Finally, this documentary had an "intimate feel" for me, as if Hawking were talking directly to me.
In conclusion, I feel this is an incredible documentary narrated by a determined scientist who has a strong will to live. In fact, at the end of the documentary he tells us:
"I'm not afraid of dying, but I'm in no hurry to die."
(2013; 1 hr, 30 min; wide screen; 12 scenes; PBS)
<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>
At least once, but surely more times than that, Mr. Sagan was asked about his opinion on religion. His response? "Well, atheists must know more than I know." What he meant was: "It is just as foolish to say that God does not exist than it is to say that He definitely does." This is because it is impossible to prove either way. It is also impossible to know for sure Mr. Sagan's own personal beliefs -- his widow argued after his death that he was an atheist, mostly to appease the scientific community, but he was almost surely an agnostic (he implied it by definition himself!) -- not that it really mattered. What mattered was: he was a very logical guy.
And then Stephen Hawking came along and said something like, "You don't need God to create the Universe." Now, this statement was completely taken out of context logically by the masses. Mr. Hawking did not imply, "God does not exist," but rather I believe, "It is still possible to prove that, even if God doesn't exist, the Universe still could have been created. Furthermore, we could be in our current state without a Creator." This is a huge distinction, even "huger" than the Universe perhaps itself. This counters the invalid arguments made by the Intelligent Design crowd, and I won't even bother justifying them with a rebuttal. (OK. I'll give you one: it's at least a bit circular.)
But this got Mr. Hawking into trouble, probably with the religious crowd. But surprisingly, he explains here -- in this really well-done documentary/biography film about his life -- how he ironically got himself into trouble with the scientists when he argued for the Big Bang Theory (BBT). They wanted no part of it; to them, talking about a BBT implied creation which implied God. (It just goes to show you: scientists can be as illogical as the religious.) But Mr. Hawking struggled on, and while it is difficult to prove that the BBT is completely correct, people have warmed up to it. Even the scientific community. Perhaps even some from the religious crowd.
I really liked this film as it comes from a first-person perspective from Mr. Hawking, which gives it a very authentic feel. Furthermore, this film isn't just about Physics; it's mostly about his own personal life and his own personal struggles. I will say that I've been on the fence with the whole Stephen-Hawking-is-the-greatest-man-in-the-Universe idea for a long time, as I believe that many people only say this because he's in a wheel chair. Perhaps they want to feel better about themselves for supporting someone with a disability? I say that this is an insult to Mr. Hawking; while you shouldn't "worship" him -- he doesn't seem much into that and feels uncomfortable with "fame," as he sighs about this at one point during the film -- you should admire him simply because he's done some impressive work in his life.
I think that if Mr. Sagan were alive today, he might say, "There are billions and billions of people on earth. I think that they all should admire Mr. Hawking as a scientist, not as a guy in a wheelchair." And I would wholeheartedly agree.