Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Hawking: A love-in for a brilliant, proudly unbroken man

3 out of 4 stars

Directed by
Stephen Finnigan
Stephen Hawking

Few public figures have ever illustrated the Cartesian conceit of a mind/body split quite like Stephen Hawking; paralyzed in his early 20s by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and confined to a wheelchair for the better part of five decades, his intellectual agility has made him one of the best-travelled – and most well-known – scientists in the world.

Stephen Finnigan's Hawking is not the first documentary to feature its namesake in a crucial role (he was the subject of Errol Morris's A Brief History of Time), but it does come billed as his definitive cinematic biography.

There are interviews with his family and friends (including, quite incongruously, Jim Carrey) as well as candid reflections by the man himself on his childhood, his illness and his accomplishments (all delivered via his familiar voice-generator).

Story continues below advertisement

As a documentary, Hawking more closely resembles a love-in, and it skirts the issue of his publicly troubled second marriage.

At the same time, it's tough to begrudge this brilliant, proudly unbroken man his victory lap – and Hawking is a perfectly serviceable star vehicle.

Report an error
About the Author

Adam Nayman is a contributing editor for Cinema Scope and writes on film for Montage, Sight and Sound, Reverse Shot and Cineaste. He is a lecturer at Ryerson and the University of Toronto and his first book, a critical study of Paul Verhoeven's SHOWGIRLS, will be published in 2014 by ECW Press. More


The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨