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The Umbrella Organisation

The Umbrella Organisation

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Stuart vs Hawking, BBC
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rakspatel wrote in mycroft_brolly

Photo credit: http://www.dangerousminds.net/tag/Thinkers

Finally, on Monday night, on BBC4, I got to watch Hawking, starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role. Hawking is a piece that many Cumberbatchfans say is Benedict's best work. So what did I think?

Hawking focused on the early university years of Stephen Hawking, and concentrated on his initial diagnosis of, and battle against, motor neurone disease; and also his intellectual path towards developing work on the Big Bang Theory. I was particularly interested in the relationship between Stephen and his parents; I loved the fact that the parents refused to accept Stephen's prognosis, and decided to carry on as normal, and ensure that he returned to Cambridge to continue his studies and his PhD. They never gave up and always believed that he could live a long and happy life. I found their devotion and their faith inspirational. Benedict's portrayal of Stephen's motor neurone disease, as his condition worsened considerably over the course of the film, was astounding; the physicality in the piece was exceptional; I actually felt some of the work Benedict did for this film must have stood him in good stead for when he started working on the Creature in Frankenstein. But is Hawking Benedict's best work?

I decided to compare Hawking with Stuart, which is what I have long considered to be Benedict's best work; a piece that will always have a special place in my heart. They are both BBC films, both with a running time of around an hour and a half, both serious dramas where Benedict portrays real life people who are still alive today (always a tough ask for any actor!).


Photo credit: http://www.benedictcumberbatch.co.uk/stuart-a-life-backwards/

I will state upfront that I am at a significant disadvantage when it comes to Hawking. Being an Arts graduate, who is uninformed on even the most basic science questions, I found it hard to understand or follow the physics in the film. I did not understand the equations, the concepts, the arguments or, for that matter, the passion that Stephen and his fellow physicists had for their subject.

My conclusion, in comparing the two pieces, was that my heart still belongs to, and remains with, Stuart. It always will. Why I firmly believe that Stuart has the edge is because, as well as telling Stuart's lifestory backwards, it focuses on the growing and deepening friendship, understanding and respect, between Stuart and Alexander. Two individuals from diametrically opposed backgrounds who find common ground and a shared goal which is the campaign to free the Cambridge Two. The piece shows that human beings have the power and the capacity to connect across what may appear to be insurmountable barriers; all you have to do to reach out is open your mind and your heart. And because of that theme of friendship overcoming all barriers, I will choose Stuart every time as the Benedict piece which I consider to be his best work and that personally means the most to me.

So, the Winner is, ... Stuart: A Life Backwards!


Photo credit: http://www.benedictcumberbatch.co.uk/stuart-a-life-backwards/

As always this is only my personal opinion and I am open to challenge!


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I really want to see it now. But I guess I have to wait until Aunty decides to screen it again!

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