Combustible Celluloid
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With: Stephen Hawking, Isobel Hawking, Janet Humphrey, Mary Hawking, Basil King, Derek Powney, Norman Dix, Robert Berman, Gordon Berry, Roger Penrose, Dennis Sciama, John Wheeler, Brandon Carter, John Taylor, Kip Thorne
Written by: Based on a book by Stephen Hawking
Directed by: Errol Morris
MPAA Rating: G
Running Time: 80
Date: 08/28/1992

A Brief History of Time (1991)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Ace in the Black Hole

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Errol Morris might have found his perfect subject with the brilliant physicist Stephen Hawking. Morris loves dealing in subjects that cannot be totally answered, defined, or controlled, and he's also a master of the one-on-one interview. In the former, he has Hawking's incredible theories of time, black holes, and the universe to chew on. But when it comes to the man himself, he somehow backs down. There are several moments, of course, but Morris heavily relies on testimony from Hawking's family, friends, and colleagues. Perhaps this is because of a limited amount of interview time with Hawking, or the fact that Hawking's computerized "voice" requires extra time for a conversation. However, these quibbles aside, Morris has turned in a beautiful film. The other interviewees provide stories about Hawking that he himself might not have provided, and the film's graphics and music (by Philip Glass) give a kind of poetic drama to the mysteries of the universe.

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