When people with disabilities are portrayed in mainstream media, often times they are the punchline of a joke or a side-plot behind an able-bodied protagonist. Constantly on the lookout for films breaking that stigma, I was intrigued when I heard of the upcoming movie The Theory of Everything. The film sets out to explore the young life of Stephen Hawking, the popular physicist and cosmologist. Hawking was diagnosed with a motor neuron disease while in his twenties, and was predicted to only live two more years. He is currently seventy-two. In addition to his budding romance with his first wife, The Theory of Everything delves into Hawking’s experience transitioning from being an able-bodied person to being someone with a disability that impacted almost every aspect of his life. Throughout this time, Hawking continued his academic career, writing the first of his many influential works, A Brief History of Time. Portrayed in the film’s trailer is the idea that Hawking’s disability was not something to be overcome, but instead a fact of his life to be adapted to and worked with, as he demonstrates via his successful career as a scholar and scientist. The Theory of Everything is due to be released this winter, and I, for one, am highly anticipating seeing it.
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