Sunday, April 22, 2012

Einstein and Eddington

*Note: This review was for my Cinema Appreciation class. So the review is in a pompus college essay format.*

I should probably start off by saying I remember next to nothing about the science I learned in High School; however I've always been fond of a good historical movie. This movie is about Albert Einstein and Sir Arthur Eddington, a German theoretical physicist and a British astrophysicist, respectfully. More specifically it's about the evolution of Einsteins Theory of General Relativity during a time when Germany doesn't care to look into any science they can't use for the Great War and Britain doesn't want anything to do with the country they are going to war with. At this time everyone held everything Newton said was put on a pedestal – which stated that Gravity was what held the universe together, but gave no reason why or what it was. This left the idea that God was the reasoning for Gravity, the why behind the what. The only thing Einstein has done by this point was suggest that everyone was moving at it's own time, and that time was not a universal standard measure. With no way to prove or disprove his theory, the British scientist at Cambridge decided his theory was not relevant to the real world, especially with a war going on.

Sir Arthur Eddington wasn't so quick to brush off Albert Einstein. Instead he sent Einstein a letter posing a question: why was Newton correct about all the position and orbits of the planets except Mercury. What was different about Mercury that just eluded Newton's otherwise correct theory. With that question as a basis, Einstein created his Theory of General Relativity which stated that it was the Suns gravity that shaped space, twisting it out of it's original shape and changing how we view it. If his theory was correct it would completely change how the world was viewed, but first it had to be proven. That's where Eddington came in, to observe space to see if Einsteins theory was correct. These two scientists who have never met went against what each of their countries were telling them to try and understand the world around them a little bit better.

This was a made for TV movie, co-produced by BBC and HBO Films. For being a made for TV movie, I was surprised by the cast for the film. Sir Arthur Eddington was played by David Tennant(Doctor Who, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Fright Night), Albert Einstein was played by Andy Serkis(Lord of the Rings, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Prestige) and Jim Broadbent(Moulin Rouge, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe) plays one of Eddington's colleague. All three are rather big names and all three were absolutely perfect in this movie. Andy Serkis's Einstein was half crazed from his intelligence that was being ignore, never going too overboard. He wanted more from the world than he was getting, wanted to prove that he had knowledge that was worth listening too. Jim Broadbents character played the main pro-England character wonderfully. He thought that there was no way that Newton could be proven wrong, especially by a German scientist. David Tennant's Eddington was probably my favorite. He went against what he's believed all his life – that God was behind everything – went against his faith for the possibility that some scientists he new met could be right. He played someone who was conflicted, hopeful for the possibility of helping to discover a new theory but worried about what this could mean for his Faith all while struggling with a possible repressed homosexuality that David Tennant hinted at perfectly.. 
My only real complaint for his movie was that they didn't really touch upon Albert Einsteins wife and kids very often. You saw them once while he still lived in Switzerland before he moved back to Berlin for his research, and once more when they came to visit him and his wife found out he was having [another?] affair. You never find out whether he and his wife split up or work it out, nor if Einstein worked things out with his kids. As far as the audience knows, they are out of his life forever and he doesn't seem to particularly care. However that pales next to how much I enjoyed this movie. It felt authentic and well thought out. All of their science talk was dumbed down a little so I didn't so I didn't get lost in all the gobbldy gook, yes still letting me learn something from it. This seemed like a movie just about anyone could enjoy if they gave it a chance. It has it's flaws, but the abilities of the actors manage to overshadow any and all of them. 

(Also: Wow I suddenly can't tab anything. that's super strange. I'll figure that problem out later.)

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