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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

An impressive documentary

Author: anthonyr from NYC
6 January 2007

An impressive documentary about the personal motivations behind the abstract and often impersonal face of science. It shows that scientists are not unlike anyone else, but are driven to do what they do from a passion and love for curiosity and a desire to unravel mystery and to understand the world. It's also about the idea that scientists need to take personal responsibility for what they do, in order to leave the world a better place for the things they create or discover.

It's a quiet, contemplative documentary, not filled with bombastic edits, computer animations, etc., and it's not even meant to teach you science, but to show you the mind of a scientist, what makes him or her tick, so if you are expecting to learn about theoretical physics or gene therapy or the development of language, you won't be happy with the film. It's unfortunate the film is titled "Me & Isaac Newton" because it implies that Newton's life and work will be discussed (it's not). If anything, it should have been called "Me & Albert Einstein", since Einstein is mentioned several times as an inspiration, and his words are quoted at the end of the film. (The title is a quote from one of the scientists, who is seen skating alone -- just "me & Isaac Newton" -- at an ice rink for relaxation & meditation, and he's referring to the classical laws of motion evident at the skating rink, as opposed to the theoretical work he does which is beyond Newton's classical physics.)

The 7 scientists are engaging and personable; you'd want to spend time talking to each of them about their work. Frankly, that's a tribute to the filmmaker, who made cinematic sense of a complex subject matter and interwove the stories of 7 lives into a very compelling and inspiring documentary. This film should be shown to any child who demonstrates an interest in science or art, or a curiosity about the world.

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A terrific documentary on what makes great scientists do what they do--a great followup to Apted's INSPIRATIONS (about artists).

Author: BA624 from New York City
10 March 2000

Even if science was your worst subject in school, you'll likely respond to the seven inspiring individuals whose stories are shared in this wonderful film by Michael Apted. My favorites were physicist Michio Kaku, who explains a tough subject with clarity,humor, and passion; and Gertrude Elion, a tireless pharmaceutical researcher who won a share of the Nobel Prize for her research into drugs that now cure 80% of childhood leukemia.

Every portrait is a good one--the Indian environmental scientist who invents a cheap way to make water safe in his very poor nation; the primatologist who follows her heart to Madagascar and uses her MacArthur grant to create a wildlife preserve for lemurs; and so much more.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

not as good as NOVA

Author: lexm4 from Tampa, FL
22 December 2000

But if you don't watch PBS often, you might find this film interesting.

The film starts with seven scientists' childhoods, then goes to their professional "work", then their "Eurika" moments (or the lack of it), then every one got to say something about "future".

Every sections jump cut through all seven scientists. I sensed some discontinuities between these jumps, like half finished sentences. Maybe I completely missed the rhythm of this film, or maybe I watched too much NOVA series that I was numb to all the sweet spots this film was trying to hit.

I kept screaming silently, "I KNEW THIS ALREADY, tell me something new!". But the film never did.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Dire & Irrelevant

Author: elvanwzrd from United States
4 October 2005

When I look for new cars, I expect not to be shown boats. When I drink fountain Coke, I should expect that the drink contains Coke. When I watch a movie that embellishes itself with the name of en excellent scientist, I expect that it is in some way relevant to that person or their work. This could have been people discussing my grannys' diary. The material covered is relevant only in that they vaguely tirade science. I fell asleep the first time I tried to watch it, & the second time I stopped watching it.

I love science & documentaries. I would rather watch them over the latest blockbuster. However this falls far short of providing anything worth your time – Avoid at all costs.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A collaboration from wonder to exploration that is science.

Author: engage2 from N/A
15 September 2003

This documentary I rented over my summer vacation to see if it had anything to do with Newton. To my surprise, it was a particularly interesting sketch of 7 seperate lives telling of their 7 seperate paths from the everyday blah growing up to eventually pursue that powerful marker of humanity's progress known as science. The epitaph left by Newton's name made for the scintillating affect in the calenture of the title's words. Screaming that which is exclusive to the personal reflections one makes on scientific paths when curiousity becomes excited by the pumping of scientific blood nurtured by one's scientific embraces. It was only a year ago that I read the latest book by theoretical physicist, Michio Kaku so I had some knowledge of at least one of these individuals going into the documentary. Quantum physics is a personal curiosity and I am hoping that it succeeds in one day claiming experimentally what it is bounded for at the theoretical domains.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Inspiring and entertaining

Author: Ron-18 from Raleigh, NC
2 December 2000

A well done documentary dealing with somewhat challenging subjects. We chose to see it last night over typical Hollywood fare and were glad we did. If you enjoy stimulating conversation, and subjects a bit deeper than what's on sale at the local mall...go see this movie. It's a winner. Especially recommend you take kids with the potential for science, medicine or math careers.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Not as good as it sounds

Author: vkd from 100 Privacy Lane
27 December 2000

I thought the movie was a poor documentary. Nothing of substance was discussed. It seemed to cheapen the ideas and did not provide anything new. The film lacked wonder or romance or anything that would really drive one to science. Most scientists appeared "stereotyped" and sometimes weird. A woman said that her awards didn't matter a whole lot, only children that were helped. She said that after a 10 minute scene where she explained all her awards. Playing "humble scientist", are we? "I have equations dancing in my head," another said. I don't see how that explains anything to us. It hasn't covered significant effects of science on our culture. Politics of science were barely touched.

Not a bad flick for a 10-14 year-olds. Other than that, I felt it was boring and unrevealing.


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