No one can have missed the “Oscar” PR campaigns doing the rounds in support of Benedict Cumberbatches performance as Alan Turing in “The Imitation Game” and Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything”
I have seen both of these films in recent months but find celebration and praise of the two films a bit over blown.
The Cumberbatch film I thoroughly enjoyed but it does help to have some knowledge of the background to the film i.e. the role of Bletchley Park, ENIGMA and Turings pioneering work. Cumberbatches portrayal is of a man of undoubted genius, few social skills, and intolerance but utterly driven to decode the German codes and he catches this very well. Despite all the plaudits the real revelation of the film is the acting of Keira Knightley who has often been discarded by critics as being one dimensional and insubstantial as an actress. Here she gives an excellently “believable” portrayal of a woman who was a member of the code breaking team.
Every review I have read of “The Theory of Everything” has given it 5 stars and Eddie Redmaynes performance has been lauded by the great and the good. Whilst I found the film on the whole enjoyable I did not feel any emotional connection with the characters and Redmaynes performance, admirable though it is, seemed more of a caricature and very difficult to empathise with or believe in.
The real star of the film in my view was Felicity Jones as the dedicated but long suffering (and ultimately rejected) wife of Hawkin. This was the one character in the film you could believe in and Jones captured the love, dedication, frustration and anger brilliantly at times.
I would recommend both films but for me it was the females in the films who caught the eye rather than the two male “Oscar” protagonists.
It will be a scandal if Felicity Jones does not win Best Supporting Actress.