Over the weekend I saw the Theory of Everything and really enjoyed it. I also noticed that kept paying attention to things that my friends who have seen it may have overlooked. At one point, Stephen Hawking is eating dinner a few months after finding out he had ALS and I saw that he was using a spoon that was bent to accommodate his adjusted grip, the improvised ramps were another thing that were kind of in the background, but jumped out at me.
The movie, overall, did a good job with showing that a person with a disability is just like anyone else: they fall in and out of love, have children, have jobs and can be just as independent as anyone else with the proper supports. It also highlighted how being the only caregiver for someone with a progressive disability can weigh on a person. Having a wife/husband/friend who can provide supports is great, but respite is important for the attendants as well.
Attitudinal barriers are something that were touched upon as well. Midway through the movie the Hawkings have moved a bed downstairs on the main floor as he can no longer climb the stairs, shortly after they have their third child and it was assumed by the family members that it couldn’t possibly be child of Stephen Hawking and that the wife and cheated. People with disabilities are often not seen as sexual beings, just because someone uses a wheelchair or has a motor related disability doesn’t mean they can’t/don’t have sex (the functioning of “down there” was less subtly stated earlier in the movie).
I didn’t feel as if the movie tried to evoke a sense of pity or even the “super crip” tropes that are so common in Hollywood. Instead, this was just a well done biographical movie that highlighted a great physicist and the obstacles he faced acquiring a disability starting in the 60’s when access wasn’t the best and the assistive technologies we have today were in their infancy.
What did you think?