Quintessentially conservative Coronado, the sleepy hollow Island across the bay from San Diego and the setting for the sensual romantic thriller When the Siren Cries, has this week seen unprecedented scenes outside its only movie theatre, currently showing the film adaptation of the blockbuster erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey. Idyllic Coronado, home to the illustrious Navy Seals but otherwise average age 93, this week witnessed long lines outside the theatre, with excited and excitable silver haired and cane carrying movie fans in line. So unprecedented was the scene that local TV, radio and press rushed along to Orange Avenue to capture the moment. Speculation was rife from visiting tourists and passing motorists, seeing the lines and the banner billboard for Fifty Shades, that the genteel City of Coronado is indeed the Peyton Place many long suspected. Has Coronado really gone Fifty Shades crazy?
The reality is a little less headline grabbing, but equally intriguing. Coronado residents were indeed in line to celebrate a moment of movie history, a film of romance and heartbreak. But that moment was not for a steamy movie with the most unlikely plot in the history of romantic fiction. The Coronadoans had gathered to celebrate and honour one of their own, Lisa Bruce, producer of the Oscar nominated movie The Theory of Everything. This film is one of the most enthralling and moving movies you’re likely to see this year. Based on the life of ALS (“The Lou Gehrig disease”) sufferer and Einstein of our time, Stephen Hawking, and an adaptation of the memoir of Hawking’s first wife, the movie is more about love and heartbreak than science and history. It tracks the ups and downs of Hawking and his wife, from when she met him in 1963 – shortly before he was diagnosed with ALS – through their marriage with three children, until their eventual breakup . Despite the ultimate failure of their union, this is an inspiring story, largely of a love that conquers all and of triumph over adversity. (Hawking, now aged 72, and given two years to live when diagnosed, is one of the longest recorded survivors of ALS.)
The Theory of Everything is unlikely to match Fifty Shades in box office receipts, but it will live in the memory long after a silly tale of a ridiculous billionaire and his besotted doormat has been forgotten. And I for one, will be rooting for the enormously talented Lisa Bruce and her team at the Oscars this week.
(The ALS Association and its Greater San Diego Chapter – 858 271 5547 -has a mission to improve the lives of ALS suffers and work towards a cure. The ALS is a non-profit organisation that carries tax benefits for donors.)