Tag Archives: Emily Watson

The Theory of Everything

Stephen Hawking (played by Eddie Redmayne) is a maths genius. He’s studying at Oxford University in England where he totally eclipses his class but frustrates his tutor. He’s fascinated by cosmology and gets into a research doctorate at Cambridge – his absolute dream. He meets unique and very smart Jane Wilde, a beautiful young arts student who totally captivates him. They begin a relationship and everything goes well until Stephen suddenly takes ill and is diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease – a degenerative neurological condition that will gradually render his body totally lifeless, even though his brain continues to function normally. At only 21, he’s given just two years to live and Jane vows to support him through the challenges that lie ahead. They bravely marry and set up a home. Somehow Stephen defies all medical theory and lives far longer than anyone expected, including having a family and a relatively stable home life. But he needs focussed care as his body gradually degenerates. Seemingly regardless of his physical state, he continues with his academic work and becomes the most eminent physicist of our time.

This is a marvellous movie. Not only is the depiction of the physical challenges faced by Stephen Hawking depicted with excellence, the complexity of the relationships is fascinating and compelling. As Hawking, Eddie Redmayne is wonderful. He inhabits Stephen Hawking as both an able-bodied young man and a physically challenged older man. He is totally believable and marvellous. The relationships in the movie are very well presented and are enthralling. The movie explores the many facets of love beautifully and I’m sure many in the audience will be left considering how they’d behave in such a situation. Jane’s life is remarkable and their marriage is one to be celebrated. As Jane, Felicity Jones (looking uncannily like Scarlett Johansson in some scenes) is lovely. The way she interacts with Stephen is beautifully portrayed as is her relationship with Stephen’s parents, Frank (by Simon McBurney) and Mary (by Lucy Chappell). I was delighted to see Emma Watson here as Jane’s mother Beryl and also Maxine Peake – I’m a great fan of hers. But there’s something creepy about her character, Elaine Mason, that doesn’t quite work for me. However, overall this is a marvellous piece and totally deserves the accolades it gets. In the 2015 award season, Eddie Redmayne has received a Golden Globe, BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actor (with a nomination for an Academy Award – Oscar – also). Felicity Jones received a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actress and nominated for a Golden Globe and a BAFTA. She is nominated for an Academy Award (Oscar) also. The Original Score gets several accolades, as does the entire movie itself. It’s a good movie, well done James Marsh.

Made in 2014. Directed by James Marsh

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Posted by on February 13, 2015 in Movies


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The Book Thief

Liesel Meminger (played by Sophie Nélisse) is a casualty of war. In war-torn Germany during World War 2 she is only 14 years old, when she becomes separated from her mother and brother. She is delivered to the home of Hans Hubermann (by Geoffrey Rush) and his wife Rosa (by Emily Watson) as their adopted daughter. Hans is very gentle with Leisel, but Rosa gives very tough love so Leisel learns very quickly how to steel her feelings against despair and disappointment. Having had very little education due to the war, when she attends the village school she struggles, particularly with literacy. A boy in the village, Rudy Steiner (by Nico Liersch) makes friends with her when he sees she is very new. Hans cares tenderly for Leisel and teaches her to read – from this point on, Leisel finds her joy in the world of books and loses herself in the stories. One day she discovers a vast library in the home of the Mayor and his wife Frau Heinrich (by Kirsten Block) and starts to “borrow” the books. A family friend Max (by Ben Schnetzer), arrives to stay at their home, but he is Jewish so this places huge risk on the family as they must keep him hidden from authorities. Thanks to her love of books, Leisel finds ways to live amongst the trauma and horror in this village during the war and beyond ….

This movie is very nice and Leisel is such a marvellous girl – she evokes a joy in anyone watching who also loves books. The performance by Sophie Nelisse is marvellous and for this work she was awarded with Best Actor wins at the Hollywood Film Festival, Phoenix Film Festival and Satellite Awards, no wonder. As Herr and Frau Hermann, the roles played by Geoffrey Rush and particularly Emily Watson are very good too. Emily Watson’s Rosa is such a harridan; she is stoic and stern faced, just marvellous. Geoffrey Rush enmeshes easy but warm tenderness into his gentle character, it’s beautiful to see.  However, for all this, there’s something missing in this movie for me – it could be wonderful, but for me it’s just good. Perhaps it’s that I don’t share the joy of reading that Leisel discovers. It is a dramatization of the novel “The Book Thief” by Markus Zuzak, which is where the narration originates, but to me it’s superfluous – doesn’t add anything either. However, overall it’s quite a good movie.

Made in 2013. Directed by Brian Percival.

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Posted by on March 21, 2014 in Movies


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Angela’s Ashes

It’s the 1930s and Frankie McCourt (played by Joe Breen) is five years old. His family has recently come to New York from Ireland to escape the poverty and find a new life. But things in America are not quite as easy as Frankie’s father Malachy (by Robert Carlyle) and mother Angela (by Emily Watson) had hoped – jobs are hard to come by, food is scarce and there is no money at all. So they reluctantly return to Limerick, knowing the hardship they will face there too. Malachy is Irish, but he is from Belfast in “the North”, so Angela’s family, particularly her mother Grandma Sheehan (by Ronnie Masterson) and her sister Aggie (by Pauline McLynn) never accept him into their lives, constantly belittling him directly and referring to him as “dirty, good-for-nothing and stupid”. Angela is loyal to Malachy, but he can’t hold down a job and finds a good friend in alcohol. Any money that comes Malachy’s way gets spent on beer long before Angela or the children see it, so the family survive on charity and handouts. Life in the slums is depressing, filthy, damp and utterly soul-destroying. To add to this, Frankie’s childhood is punctuated with trauma and sadness as the “consumption” claims his siblings one after the other. As a schoolboy, Frankie (by Ciaran Owens) sees his much-adored father rely more and more heavily on drinking and he becomes more and more of a disappointment to the entire family – but in the face of this Angela tries as best she can to keep them together. As he grows into a teenager, Frankie (by Michael Legge) meets Theresa (by Kerry Condon) and learns about girls, love and the real ways of the world. This drives his ambition to leave the gloom and sadness of the slums and make a new start in America.

This is a dramatization of Frank McCourt`s best-selling autobiography “Angela’s Ashes”. It beautifully tells Frankie’s stories with schoolboy candour, grim honesty and wry humour – but it’s pretty long and there is enough content here to make a television series. Performances are very good – particularly Robert Carlyle as the curious Malachy – I never quite understand why he’s not more motivated to do better in his life; and Emily Watson – she is very good as Angela, worn down by the endless disappointments in her life, but driven by her love for her children. The three males who play Frankie at each age are very strong, ably supported by the three who play his brother Malachy Jr (Shane Murray-Corcoran, Devon Murray and Peter Halpin) – they are great and the work of all the children is excellent for people so young. For me though, whilst the drama is well told, the emotion in the piece misses the mark. This is really just like any television family drama – and I am not even clear why the biography is called “Angela’s Ashes” – did I miss something?  Angela is not dead at any stage throughout the movie … perhaps it is an obtuse reference to the tradition of Catholic Lent, Ash Wednesday … I am not sure,  I’d say wait for it on television.

Made in 1999. Directed by Alan Parker.

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Posted by on July 15, 2013 in Movies


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Cold Souls

Paul Giamatti (played by Paul Giamatti!) is an actor in rehearsals of a Broadway play by Chekov. He is getting anxious because he can’t “get into” his character of Uncle Vanya. He feels he would be better off if he could somehow detach himself from “himself” so he can adopt the deep emotions of the role. He reads that he can have his soul extracted and put in short term storage, so he decides that this is a good idea – he would then be able to focus more fully on the role, He meets Dr Flintstein (by David Strathairn) and goes through the checks, procedure and storage then returns to rehearsals. At first, he feels “light” and “free”, but after a while he doesn’t enjoy being “soul-less” and his wife Claire (by Emily Watson) has noticed some changes in him. Also, he is still not quite into the role, so he tries to retrieve his soul – but the storage company have misplaced it. They offer him another soul as short term alternative until they find his. He accepts the soul of a female Russian poet, at first it’s good but it doesn’t work out for him either. As it turns out, the storage company is running an underground international soul exchange business and Paul’s soul has been stolen for use by someone overseas – transported there inside soul “mule”, Nina (by Dina Korzun). If that’s not bizarre enough, Nina’s boss in Russia has his own ideas about how to use Paul’s soul, and a drama ensues in the attempts to return Paul’s soul to its rightful human.

This movie is weirdly brilliant. The entire story is played out deadpan. Paul Giamatti is excellent as the tortured and traumatised “soul-less” Paul, as well as the host of the other distinct temporary souls. Once you give yourself over to the concept, the movie plays out in an entertaining way, particularly as it offers a range of pointers in the story to the quirkiness of the commercial, consumer-driven world we live in.

As I said – it’s weird, but pretty good.

(Made: 2009)

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Posted by on February 1, 2012 in Movies


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Oranges and Sunshine

In “Oranges and Sunshine” , an English social worker, Margaret Humphreys, (very well played by Emily Watson), uncovers the horrific social scandal of the forced migration of 130,000 children in care from UK to commonwealth countries (particularly Australia) during the 1950’s-60’s. For several years, she worked against huge bureaucratic, social, political and personal odds to reunite thousands of families between UK and Australia. She brought the relevant authorities to account and focussed worldwide attention on the extraordinary miscarriage of justice created through this program. It is drama with poignancy and Emily is well supported by a very strong stable of Australian actors including David Wenham and Hugo Weaving.

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Posted by on November 22, 2011 in Movies


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