Friday, 9 January 2015
First film of the year and a stellar performance - surely an Oscar-winner - from Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. Much, much better than The Imitation Game, I thought. Redmayne is utterly convincing as Hawking's physical condition deteriorates from shambling, clumsy PhD student as motor neurone disease takes hold. It is deeply moving. For me, all the more so, as my mother died from this horrible disease.
It is a love story and the story of a marriage. (Its troubled later years, admittedly, rather glossed over.) If I have a criticism, it's that I wish there had been a bit more of an attempt to explain the science. It baffles me. If physicists come up with the equation that explains everything ... I can't for the life of me see where that gets you, how a natty bit of mathematics can prove that x actually happened. Is God an equation?
Oh well, I gave up physics when I was 13 - boring stuff about gases - and I don't think the interesting physics had even been invented then. But a few years ago I was able to spend a couple of hours, completely alone, in this fascinating garden which gave me a glimmer of understanding of what it's all about.
On the way home, I went for a late afternoon stroll around Richmond Green, past Maids of Honour Row, through what remains of Richmond Palace - how wonderful to live in what was once Queen Elizabeth I's Wardrobe - and on past the Trumpeters' House and Stables. And thought of all the bustle and comings and goings there must have been, all the boxes of finery that must have arrived by river boat. And how extraordinary it is to be able to wander through all of this history as a two minute diversion from picking up my groceries from Waitrose. It was such a warm afternoon. And so heartening to see the first camellias and early blossom on the trees.