Getting Inspired On The Big Screen

As we settle into fall and the onslaught of Edmonton winters, some of us are apt to begin searching for inspiration and courage to make the transition into spring an uplifting and memorable one. Time to put personal issues and concern about the economy behind us. The fall is a good time to start. Some notable films coming up in Edmonton attempt to do just that. What better way to give us the strength to make it over the upcoming months. As we all know, inspiration comes from others who have achieved through great obstacles what we wish to achieve. Several are based upon the famous who have influenced our attitudes while others give us an encouraging lift which, of course, all Edmontonians deserve.

On the top of our list is “The Theory of Everything” premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, dealing with physicist Stephen Hawking who challenged all predictions for longevity for one diagnosed with motor neuron disease at the age of 21. As he has said, “Although I cannot move and I have to speak through a computer, in my mind I am free”. The film is a peek at a brilliant mind while documenting the stress that such illnesses place on the fragility of marriage and family. Hawking and his first wife eventually became inspiration models. The English actor Eddie Redmayne captures the man with his collapsing physique in an amazing performance.

“The Imitation Game”, also from the Toronto Film Festival, gives us another look at a mind which also impacted us in the way we think. It is a thriller with detail piled upon detail giving us a rudimentary grasp of code breaking. Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) was a mathematician hired by the British military to break the German Enigma Code and was ultimately responsible for paving the way for computer technology. Thwarted by his superiors and his colleagues, he was able to break through this resistance and turning the tide of war. His private life became even more complex and dramatic as he was prosecuted for being gay.

“Rosewater” takes us into contemporary headlines with Maziar Mahari, a Canadian – Iranian journalist imprisoned in Iran for satirical comments he made on the “Jon Stewart Show”. The focus is on an interrogation by psychological torture preceded by Bahari’s arrival in Teheran and leading up to and following Iran’s elections. The claustrophobic tension engulfs us in the events and Bahari’s courage.

Lastly, to cheer us on and inspire us is a young/old relationship about a curmudgeon – “St. Vincent” also premiered at TIFF. Bill Murray is the neighbourhood grouch who naturally turns out to have a heart of gold while baby sitting his neighbour’s son and simultaneously teaching him to assert himself against school bullies, visiting the race track, and consorting with prostitutes. Inspiration is sometimes uncovered in the most unlikely places. Just what we need to balance the above serious fare.

Time to inspire.

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