It is a much-fictionalized account of Albert Einstein’s niece and how she falls in love with the help of Einstein and his friends in the 1950’s. This film is quite historically inaccurate, so let’s go with it was all done for dramatic intention, sure, yeah.
Einstein’s niece, Catherine Boyd – no such person (played with majestic adorability by Meg Ryan) falls for auto mechanic slash undiscovered genius Ed Walters (portrayed with magnificent affable charm by Tim Robbins). Walter Matthau is brilliant as Einstein, who would expect anything else? Stephen Fry is boundlessly dry and awkward as Boyds’ fiance.
Again, sad that love stories have to hinge on tearing apart relationships to find true love, but that seems to be a popular plot device. I want to have a problem with the love story being based on Ed Walters (Robbins) lying to Catherine Boyd (Ryan), but I think they show that the spark was already there by the scenes in the garage and at the college. He should have trusted in his ability to court her without deception.
I think it is the sweet absurdity of this film is what makes it so appealing. Romcoms often leave me conflicted, so I try to enjoy them on a less cerebral, more visceral level.