Einstein and Eddington (TV Movie 2008) Poster

(2008 TV Movie)

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Great actors, great story
gray411 December 2008
This is a superb drama, combining a well-presented scientific and historical explication of Albert Einstein's theory of relativity alongside a gripping portrait of the moral dilemmas that scientists have to struggle with as they try to reconcile the demands of country and conscience.

The twin leads –British scientist Arthur Eddington (David Tennant) and Einstein (Andy Serkis) – lead very different lives but face not only similar scientific opposition and derision but also similar pressures to back their country's efforts to win the First World War. Tennant shakes off the Dr Who expectations in pointing up the problems of a gay pacifist Quaker who tries to prove the new-fangled theories of 'enemy' scientist Einstein – a theory especially dangerous because it undermines the ordered view of the universe created by English scientist Isaac Newton. Einstein's complicated private life is compounded by his revulsion at fellow scientists' work in developing poison gas. Both Tennant and Serkis get right into the skin of their characters - two brilliant actors on top form.

The drama brings over very effectively the transition from the comfortable life of the scientists in pre-war Cambridge and Switzerland to the tragedies of war. Jim Broadbent as Sir Oliver Lodge and Donald Sumpter as Max Planck lead the scientific establishments in Cambridge and Berlin as they pervert their scientific beliefs to condone mass killing on a scale never before seen. The main female roles have rather less to do, but Rebecca Hall as Eddington's sister, Lucy Cohu as Einstein's abandoned wife and Jodhi May as his mistress all add an extra warmth to the production and help to avoid the danger of focusing only on clever men using symbols and formulae to bemuse their colleagues (and the audience).

The settings – Cambridge, Berlin and West Africa, where Eddington photographed a total eclipse of the sun to prove the Einstein's theory was right – provide a powerful backdrop to the human drama, making it all the more believable. All in all, a very successful and informative BBC and HBO drama that maintains tension and excitement throughout.
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Great story ruined by historical and scientific errors
regdennick13 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Although this is superficially an interesting, entertaining and well produced film with some good acting the writer, director and producer have unfortunately put drama before historical and scientific accuracy. The errors in this film are significant from both a historical and scientific perspective and it is a pity that the story of one of the greatest discoveries in scientific history, the results of which still reverberate around the world today, has been distorted and fabricated to make a drama. One wonders if the script was ever looked at by a professional scientific historian who actually knew what had happened or if the producers and director just accepted it as written. According to the credits Walter Isaacson, who wrote a biography of Einstein, is stated as a consultant. His 2007 biography of Einstein does not support the narrative structure of the film (made in 2008) and in particular does not describe the exchange of letters between Eddington and Einstein nor does it refer at all to the involvement of Sir Oliver Lodge. The key moments in the story and the various conflicts exposed could all have been based on actual events with the real people involved without compromising the drama. Unfortunately the writer invented situations that never happened, transposed individuals into roles they never had and simplified the announcement of the final discovery to the point of absurdity. Given the importance of this famous discovery to science and to the centenary of the event in 2019 one hopes the BBC do not resurrect it at that time as it is a complete travesty. I will list the errors below in the order in which they appear in the film. Some errors may be perceived as trivial and legitimate simplifications for dramatic purposes but other errors are much worse and significantly alter how this great discovery was made and how it was communicated. 1. The opening scene depicts the hauling of astronomical equipment up over rocks on Principe. This did not happen. The eclipse was photographed from the Rosa Sundy plantation which had road access from the port of Santo Antonio. 2. Eddington asks for papers by Einstein in the library and is handed one paper with the comment 'it's all there is'. The paper in question was published in Annalen der Physik in 1905 along with four other ground breaking papers by Einstein. The library would have had this very important journal plus many other papers by Einstein published in the decade up to 1915. 3. Possibly one of the most egregious inventions in the film is that Sir Oliver Lodge is given the leading role of criticising Einstein, supporting Newton and of apparently being the President of the Royal Astronomical Society. There is absolutely no evidence that Lodge was an astronomer or was involved with gravitation, Einstein or Eddington. He most certainly was not president of the Royal Astronomical Society and he did not appoint Eddington to run the Cambridge Observatory. His role in the film is entirely spurious and is presumably there because his son was famously killed at the first battle of Ypres allowing him to represent the antagonism against German science and the use of poison gas warfare by German scientists. To use an existing historical character like this who famously went on to become a spiritualist and President of the Society for Psychical Research is bizarre. 4. Eddington did not write to Einstein asking him to solve the problem of the anomalous orbit of Mercury. Einstein was already well aware of this problem and in fact solved it entirely on his own shortly before publishing his final theory in 1916. 5. In relation to point 4 Einstein did not collaborate with Planck on solving the Mercury problem. In fact Planck worked in an entirely different field from Einstein and had no involvement with his General Theory. Einstein was helped in the final formulation of his General Theory by David Hilbert. 6. Einstein did not write to Eddington with the solution to the Mercury problem. 7. Sir Oliver Lodge did not approve the granting of the money for the Principe expedition. 8. Eddington did not devise the eclipse experiment to test the bending of starlight. This had been suggested by Einstein years earlier and there had even been unsuccessful expeditions to test the prediction. 9. Dyson did not go to Principe with Eddington, it was Cottingham. 10. At Principe there were not six bad plates and two good ones. There were 16 plates taken during the eclipse; 9 showed nothing due to cloud and 7 plates showed up to 20 stars on which measurements could be made. 2 plates in particular provided very good images. 11. The plates were not first examined in public as depicted in the film. They had been meticulously measured for months previously along with other plates from Sobral in Brazil. The idea that Eddington looks at the plates for the first time in front of a large audience and declares a 'gap', thus vindicating Einstein, is absurd. Not only that there were two deflections up for consideration: a Newtonian one and an Einstein one twice as big. More could have been made of this in terms of the conflict between supporters of Newton and Einstein.
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Science Rules
gridsleep17 April 2010
The best historical drama since Longitude, Einstein and Eddington not only reveals the extraordinary political and emotional drama of a break through moment in history, but shows that scientists are uniquely human. It is science and art that elevate us above the banal and the animal, and unites us in the common cause of the future. War is an aberration, like cancer. Truth is the only goal that is worth achieving. This film is a great and happy display of the supremacy of truth and the real conquest of reality, not by force of arms but by force of brains. As John Brunner wrote in his apocalyptic novel The Shockwave Rider, (according to Angus Porter) "This is the third stage of human social evolution. First we had the legs race. Then we had the arms race. Now we're going to have the brain race. ... And, if we're lucky, the final stage will be the human race." As long as there are men like Eddington and Einstein, I do not have the slightest doubt that there will be a human race, and we can all be proud to be part of it.
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I can hear God --- thinking
Roxanne Tellier6 June 2009
I am not a scientist, I have no scientific bent. Nor have I ever studied the odd couple pairing of Einstein and Eddington. I simply have the greatest of respect for David Tennant as an actor, and so watched this film with an eye to Mr Tennant's performance. However, my expectations were more than met with this tribute to an early 19th century event, which changed the course of science as it had been known before. Evidently, Einstein, a German born scientist with 'crazy' ideas, had moved to Switzerland to marry and raise a family, while Arthur Eddington, a gay, Quaker, pacifist, was just finishing up his years at Cambridge. Lauded as an heir to Sir Isaac Newton, Mr. Eddington had a seat at Cambridge, despite his being a pacifist, much frowned on by the many Lords and gentlemen who had donated a son to the 1st World War. Especially as the battle of Ypres raged, and 15,000 were lost to chlorine gas, Mr. Eddington's passivity rubbed raw the sensibilities of a nation against Germany in particular. Meanwhile, Einstein had been lured to Berlin, in hopes that his theories would provide war capable weapons. As it happened, Einstein was against the war, and did not wish that his theories be used as weapons. And so, given his 'relinquishment' of his German residency, as a 'Citizen of the World', his life was reigned in by the German powers, and he became unable to have a voice in his community, be it scientific or personal. And of course, during World War 11, he was excoriated as a Jew, and barely fled with his life. The US wanted his knowledge, and of course, eventually, the atomic bomb was invented, based on his theory of relativity. But that was many years after this moment in time. Arthur Eddington discovered a variation in the known elipse of Mercury, and with the help of a German family he had rescued from a violent English protest, sent a translated letter to Einstein explaining his new theory. Einstein was unable to answer him, due to the German soldiers denying his entrance to his only post box. However, Eddington and his scientific companion convinced Cambridge University to pay for a trip to Africa, in order to prove a new theory on the relationship of the stars to the sun, during a total eclipse. Einstein, of course, went on to incredible fame and notoriety. Eddington, however, did not pursue fame, and faded into obscurity. This is a wonderful film, and trust me - you needn't know science to understand what this adventure is all about. Enjoy!
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BORING title, GREAT film!
dimplet24 June 2011
What an extraordinary experience!

Both Einstein and Eddington wrote numerous books for the general public, and I read most of them when I was young. I was familiar with the famous 1919 astronomical expedition to test Einstein's General Theory of Relativity by measuring the position of Mercury during an eclipse, and even read old newspaper accounts from the archives, including the comments by Alfred North Whitehead. And I have read books on the history of science.

Yet I never knew about the context in which General Relativity was developed, both historical and personal. Now, in light of this program, it seems obvious: General Relativity was published in 1916, during the first World War. The Eddington expedition to measure Mercury occurred in 1919, shortly after the war ended. And yet, when we learn about science we assume that it rises above politics and conflicts like war and national pride, as though existing in another world.

What we see in Einstein and Eddington is that it does not. Politics and national pride played central roles, and it is only through individuals resisting social pressure that it does, actually, rise above transient political bias. Specifically, Britain's national pride was closely tied with Newtonian physics. Germany's national pride could be enhanced by having a scientist of their own overthrow Newton, namely Einstein. But both Eddington -- who, as director of the Cambridge Observatory was viewed as a protector of Newton's law of gravity -- and Einstein believed loyalty to scientific truth transcended national chauvinism.

These principles were put to the test as much as Einstein's theories because of the ongoing war between Britain and Germany. In Eddington we have a Quaker and true pacifist, and in Einstein we have a not terribly devout Jew who also does not believe in war, and wrote pacifist essays later in life. However, to say Einstein did not believe in God is mistaken, just not the anthropomorphic, personal God. This film brings out the curious parallels between the two scientists.

According to the film, it was a letter from Eddington prodding Einstein to use his Theory of Special Relativity to explain the anomalous orbit of Mercury that put Einstein on the road to writing his Theory of General Relativity, published in 1916. An examination of the dates of publication of his works in the intervening years suggests this is probably misleading -- say a literary device, though I am not sure; the chronology of events in the movie are vague. By 1911 he had already calculated that light from a star would be bent by the sun's gravity -- which was proved correct by Eddington's 1919 expedition. At any rate, Eddington should have had several other journal articles by Einstein to read.

This simplification of the story can be forgiven because the film does such a good job of conveying for the layman several concepts of relativity, particularly gravity bending space. An intelligent person should be able to follow this film. But a little more scientific context would have been helpful for novices.

There are many layers to this film, one being the invention of weapons by German scientists, which outrages both Einstein and Eddington's British colleagues. Yet, Einstein's General Relativity laid the foundation for the ultimate weapon.

I'm not sure the film precisely captures the character of the young Einstein, but it comes close. More recent biographies have told about Einstein's relations with women, and that he was sometimes, shall we say, manipulative. So it is good to show him as a human being. He was always a non-conformist, especially in his later years, when he could afford to be. The bit at the end with him going before the press looking disheveled was silly, and the shot of him sticking out his tongue was from many decades later. But chalk it up to literary license.

I was also annoyed by the snide comment about Eddington's irrelevancy at the end of the film. Eddington did solid, respected science and was very famous, the Carl Sagan of his time. It's been a century since the period presented in this film, and few scientists remain household names that long. Eddington was an early astrophysicist and one of the first cosmologists, so he was a pioneer who laid the groundwork for so much that we read about in the press today. It is a fine thing this film brought him back into public view.

It would have been nice if the actors could have pronounced Max Planck's name correctly. And why do the British kill animals on screen so often? It's very disturbing, especially for children.

What really bugged me about Einstein and Eddington was the goofy camera work by Julian Court. I can see hand holding the camera outside while moving, but inside while the actors are sitting at a table talking? If you can't hold a camera steady, put it on a tripod! It sure looked like they were jerking the camera up and down unnecessarily during static scenes, unless the camera had Parkinson's. This is not MTV or youtube; it is not even one of those wacky National Geographic documentaries.

This is an historical science drama, and it should have been treated with the appropriate polish. The jerky camera movement was distracting from the concentration needed to follow the ideas being presented. Aside from that, this docudrama really held my interest throughout. So one point off for the camera work, one point off for killing animals; otherwise, a 10.

Many of the works that Eddington and Einstein wrote for the layman are still worth reading today, and do not require prior science courses. Eddington's honest examination of philosophical questions related to science, particularly between consciousness and the physical universe, are still relevant. Eddington was among the best at explaining science and cosmology to the general public, and I think he would have been delighted by this film.
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It's All Relative!
SpitfireIXB28 March 2010
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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" If you believe my theory contradicts the laws of God, I feel sorry for God "
thinker169131 March 2010
There are not too many films which accurately depict the personal lives of historical figures. Try as they may, secret human peculiarities which are more readily acceptable or at least tolerated in our present age, are seen as huge obstacles in years past. Case in point, this film called " Einstein and Eddington " is only now surfacing to the American public and according to this reviewer, has done a masterful job. The story itself centers on two men of Genius who lived at the beginning of the Tweneith century. The first is Arthur Eddington (David Tennant) the British Mathematician and astrophysicist and German scientist Albert Einstein (Andy Serkis, superb characterization). This film captures both the social and a bit of their personal lives before they became known to the world. Einstein is seen searching for answers to his theories concerning gravitational phenomenon and it's relationship to light. Eddington is captivated by the scientific contradictions of the Planet Mercury and Newtons calculations of its orbit. The result is the communication between The Englishman and the Swiss scientist, both of whom shrug off their nationalities in lieu of scientific truth. With Eddington dealing with his personal emotional ties to his secret admiration and love for his dear friend William Marston, (Patrick Kennedy), Einstein, deals with his wife Malava who confronts him with divorce, due to his illicit affairs. Both men are seen in their moments of contentment as well as dealing with their doubts and tragedies. All in all, the movie is a great triumph for both actors and a notable milestone for their accomplishment. Easilly recommended to anyone who would like to peek into the personal lives of two men who shook the world. ****
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Some poor casting; air of mystery pulls it through
Susan31 March 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Andy Serkis was the biggest problem for me in this film. Because he spoke nothing like Einstein (whom I've often heard in clips)--and projected nothing of the personality I've read about--that portion of the film really threw me off. Other actors have decided to neither take coaching to speak like or change themselves to look like the famous characters they portrayed; but Serkis took that one step further by changing his character's basic personality too--and often portrayed Einstein as a canny clownish elf! I felt the casting was a mistake, and the acting was a throw-away. What a shame.

David Tennant was fine, though. And discovering the laws of physics and development of what went on in the early years of the last century was thrilling--if over-dramatic in some places.
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A movie of contrasts.
tim floto30 March 2010
As the title suggests, this movie is about two men. Albert Einstein and Arthur Stanley Eddington. Einstein is light of heart, humorous, and a bit flippant. Eddington is a serious and religious man, a quaker. Einstein has no idea, nor cares how to prove or demonstrate his theory of gravity. Eddington works out an experiment using a telescope to observe if starlight bends coming near a massive object, so he takes his telescope to Africa to photograph a total solar eclipse. The story also highlights old guard science vs. a creativity. Neither English nor German scientists are comfortable with Einstein's Relativity. In the end, both Eddington and Einstein are scientists and intellectually honest. This the story of two very different men, trying to understand the universe in their own ways. The science is only a prop for the story.
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No one said this was a documentary!
kenfromcanada31 July 2016
While most of the reviews here are spot on, there is always someone who had to take a contrary view based on 'their' grasp of science. NO ONE SAID THIS IS A DOCUMENTARY! It is though a very well made film, with a great cast, a good period piece, and the science is correct enough! Any movie that educates the general public - an IOTA - is doing its job. We should all expand our knowledge of the world around us, it is surprising how many people today know nothing of Einstein and role he played in shaping the 'modern' world. An enjoyable movie that takes some very hard to understand theories and makes them understandable and entertaining.
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Easy viewing but lacked substance
IMDbeans5 January 2009
Although this was easy and enjoyable to watch, the characters all lacked depth and the script in general was rather superficial, simplistic and ultimately unsatisfying. It could have been so much more, given the fascinating setting and the magnitude of the underlying facts. The science itself was almost completely omitted or dumbed down. It was disappointing that there was a rather cheap and unconvincing attempt at a religious 'miracle' as well as some one-dimensional and unnecessary politics. On the positive side, Cambidge university in the WWI era made for a pleasing backdrop and the actors' performances were decent on the whole.
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Balance between Human and Science
Kong Ho Meng24 November 2012
Its a long time since A Beautiful Mind that another biographic movie of scientist is made. And this movie, in fact is about 2 scientists, is a great work! The inclusion of Eddington is a good choice by the director. He could have made just a movie about Einstein, but the role of Eddington help to add different point of view but also show how, in real life, scientists collaborate to achieve a common goal. He has made this movie a true account for scientists in general . It is a well-made period movie. The emotional and social impacts ( of the war and the transitions of the era) upon the characters are expressed accordingly. Hence, this movie manages to balance the science side and the human side of the lives of both einstein and eddington. In fact it is probably the first movie about scientists that makes the subject look pretty human, and a character than the audience could actually relate to
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More Hollywood than History
Richard von Lust17 November 2012
The central approach is quite good: Einstein v Newton during WW1. It's the perfect setting for yet another reminder of the British/German enmity that Hollywood loves to ram down our throats. According to the plot, Einstein is given a top Berlin academic post in order to embarrass the Britons by proving Newton wrong. Whilst in England Sir Arthur Eddington is given a senior Cambridge position just in order to prove the upstart German wrong.

All the standard ingredients are there; nasty German scientists devoted to anti-personnel gas production, stiff old aristocrats interfering with progress and our two cool dudes strutting around their patches telling everyone what's what. But it's not just about giving the Krauts another bashing. Once again the Studios give us a spoon fed morality session with stereotypical bad guys looking like greasy bankers, sold out scientists and pompous officials waging senseless war for their own profit and power. (If only life was that clear cut) Meanwhile the good guys, Eddington and Einstein, are both above the mass killing. Their search for truth is a shining example of how the individual can change the world - or so Eddington tells us in a much edited final speech that could have been written by Thatcher.

The sheer banality of the script is enough to bend space itself. Max Plank makes a stage entrance so contrived that even the Cleethorpes Junior School Drama Society would be embarrassed to stage it. We are treated to Einstein the improvised clown who leaps from boats explaining relativity to knee high children. Then he becomes a disheveled dropout who goes around demanding that the German authorities stop their gas campaign. Once again Hollywood takes 21st century man and sticks him into 19th.century society and once again it doesn't work. Our Einstein is so profoundly rude and abusive to the authorities that you know exactly which century he comes from.

Of course David Tenant as Eddington is superb. Had he not been in the show I don't think I could have stuck it out and written this review. Watch this if you have a crush on him or an obsessive interest in Einstein. But don't expect to learn anything about 'Einstein the Man' in this movie for it was one of the worst pieces of casting and scripting that I've ever had the misfortune to endure.
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entertaining and thoughtful but could have been much more
Speedwheels171824 May 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This movie had a lot of potential I think to get people who arnt much into science or astronomy and truly captivate them, unfortunately I don't think it does nearly as much as it could have. Instead it focuses too much imo on the love stories and the way it rearranges history and adds much inaccuracy for the sake of the story when the way it really went down in history was just as exciting, if not more in many parts.

Still, the movie is enjoyable, the characters are fairly well developed and the story is engaging all the way until the end. I liked the dynamic between country vs the betterment of sciences for all and really enjoyed Eddington's fight and struggle with the university. I did think some of how the characters explained and reacted to the science felt unnatural in dialog. There probably could have been more creative ways to incorporate it but think it did a good job of explaining it to the layman and explained it well to get people interested in relativity and/or cosmology.

If you want a history lesson this is the movie for you. The way events occurred is all out of sorts. (Spoilers) Things like the expedition did happen but there was several explanations years before including one during the war and one in America. The one in America was successful and got calculated, but it showed that Einstein was wrong! However the equipment used in the expedition was not the best (the shift is very very small) the other expeditions didn't turn out because of clouds, rain or were left after the people got kicked out of Russia because of the war, The American results were going to be published but right before they did, word got there that Eddington's results from the expedition came back showing Einstein right! While science accepted Einsteins theory, there rose a few concerns and it took another eclipse and expedition to Australia (where this time seven countries set up there) to fully accept Einstein was correct. Einsteins love story in the movie is fabricated in some parts, again the real story I think is just as interesting and would have worked just as well.
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Opulent but mushy public service docu-drama
Framescourer23 November 2008
Despite going to town on this well-intentioned project that marries drama, scientific explication and a smattering of other issues (which orbit the event heliocentrically like the clanky model dominating Eddington's study), it really does feel terrible soppy. Everything is a series of set pieces as well - in a post walk-n-talk world one might expect a little more economy. The problem is that the biggest drama is not the War, the lover that dare not speak his name, the erosion of faith or Einstein's burgeoning interest in Schubert (all dealt with in a worn, conventional set pieces). No, the problem is all to do with the dry, literary nature of theoretical science. The script is the biggest offender with Laboratoire Garner-style 'here comes the science!' moments. It's too easy to patronise an audience with the well-worn exposition technique of one character explaining what's going on to another. The most effective sequence of this film is that in which Einstein has his epiphany in the middle of oncoming traffic but no further mention is made of the incident, either in flashback or dialogue when Eddington is re-explaining it to his confidants.

Luckily the performances are reasonable - the three world-class actors (Serkis, Broadbent and Jodhi May) manage performances that transcend TV. The big draw for the target audience though is casting the BBC's mad-scientist-superstar/lodestone David Tennant as Eddington. Tennant is a sympathetic Eddington, discovering his backbone and the cracks in conventional Newtonian physics simultaneously. The secondary cast are good support, particularly Donald Sumpter as Max Planck. This is not Copenhagen, but it was never supposed to be (and it's well filmed). 4/10
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a meeting
Armand18 December 2012
key word - chemistry between two impressive actors. than - seductive performance. and a good story. a film from science universe but not exactly about science. about friendship and passion for knowledge but only as instrument. a pledge about basic values of society but not exactly a manifesto. a great show - this is perfect definition. because the script gives chance to do a splendid circle of delicate nuances. it is comfortable to discover Andy Serkis out of masks of his strange characters. and it is pure joy to meet a David Tennant in middle of a subtle work to explore limits of a scientist. so, result is full of joy. and proof of a smart work of a good director. far to be page from science history, it is a kind of fairy tale. and seed for charming definition of two legendary figures.
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Good Attempt, but Serious Problems
caramia200216 April 2018
The fine ensemble of actors never seemed to gel and had zero chemistry. Einstein was portrayed as a joke, when he wasn't working, that is. They tried to drag too many dramatic elements which muddled things. They should have picked two and stuck to those. Nowhere it say, that I have found, that Eddington was gay. He might have been, but he never came out. As many people view movies based on history as history itself, this was a cheap ploy to resemble A Beautiful Mind, and further muddled the plot (why hire an actor to play the object of his affections, for two very short scenes?). Tennant, a fine actor, played Eddington over the top and his glasses magnified his eyes in a very distracting and strange way. What was the director thinking??? Give him clear lenses and contacts.

The "history" in this movie is not even close, except that Einstein did indeed solve this puzzle. Eddington did not help him or pose the question. Einstein already had the question. They left out key life milestones. Einstein did marry his 1st cousin, right after his divorce from his 1st wife came through, as it had taken a long time (the only thing this got right). The whole Africa thing didn't happen like this nor did the scene where Eddington proved Einstein's theory, and it wasn't in public. I don't expect any movie based on history to be a documentary, but at least get half of it right, not 10%.

The writing was bad TV movie worthy. I cringed for the actors often. The music was just embarrassing. I almost turned it off after the overly majestic opening, as I thought it was a kid's movie. The composer copied the ET score, if not in notes, in theme, mood, and dynamics. And not near as good as the ET score. I am glad that Andy Serkis got a nice leading role after being known as Gollum for so long. But like the other actors, he never got to really shine. He managed the situation better than most of the male ensemble, though. The women did very well, however.
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Most inane movie on the work of geniuses ...and wrong too!!
k_2827 July 2015
The stupidity of this movie is equivalent to the genius of the great men on which it is based ..in fact it as a whole a complete contrast to the lives of those two men lived...its boring while their lives was interesting..its shallow while they had a deep philosophy in life and its so arbitrary in approach while they were perfectionist. One more point that need to be added that this is neither scientifically nor historically accurate.

For example ..Eddignton was not the only who wanted to observe solar eclipse to prove Einstein theory in fact a previous attempt was made by other scientists in Russia but due to WWI it didn't succeed . Also the dramatic impact it tries to create is wrong as Einsteines theory was popular even before Eddignton laid his hands.True he was not a celebrity but was not an unknown scientist either. Anyways a movie can take a poetic license for converting story into a drama , but this movie fails in that aspect as well ; it doesn't not create any characters we can sympathize with. Eddignton comes as shy , diffident but at times stubborn who believes in some God, but his character lacks the depth of scientist and he comes as school student ..shallow n incoherent. Einstein on other comes as weird , confused person who acts like a quirky fellow by having sex in classroom or jumping of ship explaining relativity who is seemingly lost touch with reality. His love affair , we cant determine if a fling or deep love as neither characters expresses its emotions . Neither is his relation with wife properly portrayed as we don't know why he tries to avoid her. Even at his best Einstenie comes not as likable character but someone you will avoid. And this is sad as by every account he was a kind and gentle person. Nevertheless if you are watching a movie and both main characters are non likable whats the point of having a movie? It could very well be a documentary and not a movie. But it can not even be a documentary as its had gaping historical holes. And for scientific understanding ....better not watch it as it childish and plain wrong. It never really explains relativity even in its simplest form. So its something that one should avoid as a mediocre attempt on the great lives. I still feel there is a some movie out there which will do justice to their struggles , passions and genius.
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A Great Movie , But....
ammk77716 May 2011
This is one of the greatest scientific movie i have ever seen as it illustrates a scientific theory during the drama of the movie which makes you more concern to know more and more about how scientists live their life and how they face such hard obstacles in order to achieve success .Einstein is one of the greatest scientists ever and his theory of relativity has changed it changed people's minds of what they were thinking about gravity . But , this movie contains sexy explicit scene and passionate kisses , so it is not suitable for children as mentioned in parents guide . If you more concern about science , you will enjoy this movie a lot .
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