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Einstein and Eddington (2008)

TV Movie  -   -  Drama | History  -  23 November 2008 (UK)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 3,195 users  
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A look at the evolution of Albert Einstein's theory of relativity, and Einstein's relationship with British scientist Sir Arthur Eddington, the first physicist to understand his ideas.

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Title: Einstein and Eddington (TV Movie 2008)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Richard McCabe ...
Frank Dyson
...
William Marston
...
Tennis Player 1
Gyuri Sarossy ...
Tennis Player 2
...
...
Sir Oliver Lodge
...
Jacob Theato ...
Eduard Einstein
Callum Williams ...
Hans Einstein
...
...
Lucy Briers ...
Librarian
...
Fritz Haber
John Bowe ...
Leopold Koppel
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Storyline

Sir Arthur Eddington is a renowned physicist at Cambridge University and an expert in the measurement of the physical world. He along with all of his colleagues are also avowed Newtonians. Sir Oliver Lodge suggests that he read a new thesis put forward by a German-Swiss scientist named Albert Einstein who is suggesting that Sir Isaac Newton may have got it wrong. The expectation is that Einstein's theories will be disproven but Eddington admits that his General Theory of Relativity has merit. These are turbulent times as England and Germany are at war and Eddington's own loyalty is called into question when, as a Quaker, he refuses to fight. In the end, Eddington develops a series of tests to either prove or disprove Einstein's theories. For his part, Einstein has his own struggles during this period: the breakdown of his marriage, his integration into the university in Berlin and his own strident pacifism that led him to oppose German militarism and the First World War. In the end, ... Written by garykmcd

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Drama | History

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Release Date:

23 November 2008 (UK)  »

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Einstein and Eddington  »

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Did You Know?

Goofs

When Eddington went to the railway station to see Marston off, he used a subway to get across to platform 3. Cambridge station has no subway, all the platforms are accessible on the level. See more »

Quotes

[Einstein is trying to work out why Newton's Laws of Motion do not correctly explain the orbit of the planet Mercury]
Max Planck: May I ask you a very serious question? What if God were to say you were mistaken? If he said "Stop. Newton is right"?
Albert Einstein: Then I would thank God for his point of view, and we would agree to differ, and I would be left feeling very sorry for God.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Parkinson: Episode dated 5 May 2007 (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

 
It's All Relative!
28 March 2010 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Einstein and Eddington is a very entertaining TV movie: well written, with decent cinematography and above average acting. David Tennant and Andy Serkis give really good performances as the younger Eddington and Einstein respectively and the remainder of the cast are outstanding. That said, I would like to comment on the misconceptions about Eddington's sexual preference and the ongoing debate about that. What sex has to do with the storyline is a mystery. Perhaps the homosexuality hinted at in the movie is there to gain a wider audience. In any event, the movie's intimation about Eddington's sexuality and the subsequent debate needs to be addressed.

Everything I have read or was told about Arthur Stanley Eddington indicates that he was a painfully shy, genteel, devout Quaker and an active pacifist whose sexual preferences are UNKNOWN. To suppose that Eddington, or any other male for that matter, is a homosexual because they never married or died young, is an exercise in jackass fallacy; probably the most stupid deduction I have ever heard proposed. Such logic would also make every woman who never married or died young a lesbian. This is really dumb thinking, folks.

Other posters and commentators have jumped on dialogue from the movie e.g., Eddington saying to his sister: "I really loved him!" as being prima facie evidence that Eddington admitted to his sister that he was a homosexual. First, for a person to declare that they love someone of the same sex, does not presume they are in a homosexual relationship with that person or that they are homosexual lovers. Second, people forget that these words were never said by Eddington himself and that they are actually just words put into an actor's mouth by a writer or a director. The fact is Eddington's sexual preference is UNKNOWN. It was never mentioned, indicated or hinted at by Eddington, his sister, his other family members, his friends or his colleagues at any time before, during or after his death. I don't understand the logic or rationale that because he never mentioned it, confirms he must be a homosexual. If Eddington was a homosexual it would be most unusual for him not to indicate this in his personal papers because homosexuals almost always leave behind some clear indication, or even proof, of their sexual preference. I cannot think of one homosexual who didn't. And Eddington didn't. Claiming Eddington is a homosexual sounds like just a lot of homosexual wishful thinking to me.

Sadly, this inference in the movie and subsequent debate really deters from the terrific story of Eddington's (definitely heterosexual and academic) relationship with Einstein and the problems he encountered trying to prove Einstein's Theory of General Relativity. This movie would have been more dramatic if the makers had pursued Eddington's (and Einstein's) endeavours to find a repeatable scientific method experiment which would prove the Theory of General Relativity supersedes Newton's Theory of Gravity, as well as providing greater detail of the reactions of the German and English scientists and their inter-relationships with Eddington and Einstein. Eddington's battle with the Royal Society was monumental and went on for many years. Details of the science and the scientific debate would have made a more exciting and interesting movie and far more satisfying than having Eddington's character race his bicycle along a road next to a train, with a strange expression on his face, in order to bid farewell to his (undeclared) lover. It's just silly. While the movie clearly hints at Eddington's alleged homosexuality, it glosses over the Einstein's heterosexual aberration in his courting and marrying his first cousin - she was a first cousin his mother's side and a second cousin on his father's side of the family, a double whammy which gives new meaning to Einstein's relativity! Then again, I'm thankful because it really doesn't belong nor does it add to the real story. If the drama of the scientific debate had been followed more vigorously, instead of raising the homosexuality red herring, this movie would have been better for it and far more interesting. People seem to focus more on Eddington's sexual preferences than his (and Einstein's) genius and their scientific breakthroughs and achievements. And that is a tragedy.

Nevertheless, this is a very good movie that I enjoyed very much despite these shortcomings. Enjoy!

Rating: 4/5 stars


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