I’ve just watched Hawking starring Benedict as – once again – an intellectual (to say the least): theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. The film covers the two years from when he was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrphic lateral sclerosis), also called MND (motor neurone disease), until he finished his dissertation, which „made Einstein beautiful“, as his doctoral adviser explained to Hawking’s father. The BBC film is not spectacular. It’s a solid movie with a superb lead actor( and a good supporting cast).
That being said, Benedict’s performance didn’t surprise me at all. It’s weird: after having seen him as Frankenstein’s Creature, all his other accomplishments seem so… predictable. Of course, it’s always impressive to see how an actor manages the challenges of portraying somebody with a disability, be it physical or mental (think of Daniel Day-Lewis in My Left Foot, Dustin Hoffmann in Rain Man, Leonardo DiCaprio in Gilbert Grape, among others), but with Benedict Cumberbatch I almost take perfection for granted. It doesn’t even feel as if it was a real challenge for him. He’s just one of the best actors of our time – and was so already 10 years ago.