Title – The Theory of Everything (2014)
Director – James Marsh (Project Nim)
Cast – Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, David Thewlis, Emily Watson, Harry Lloyd, Charlie Cox
Plot – A look at the life and love of Professor Stephen Hawking (Redmayne) and his wife Jane (Jones) and their battle with Stephens’s life threatening disability along with his intense delving into the universe.
“While there’s life, there is hope”
Review by Eddie on 9/02/2015
It’s surprising that it’s taken such a long time for a high profile cinematic version of the life and times of famed author/scientist/mathematician Stephen Hawking to be made into a feature film and thankfully the end product is a very fine telling of an aspect of Hawking’s life that many would’ve never even considered, that of his relationship with his once long serving wife Jane. Under the assured hands of Man on Wire documentarian turned feature director James Marsh, The Theory of Everything (based on Jane Hawking’s autobiography) is a fine film without being a must see one.
The recipient of 5 Oscar nominations it’s not hard to see why Theory has been such a success with Academy voters. From the films well designed pallet, two fantastic lead turns with a career defining one from Eddie Redmayne as Hawking and with a lovely original score from Johann Johannsson, Theory screams quality in a productions sense yet can’t quite overcome it’s at basis nature the feeling of a TV movie of the week production. There is nothing overly grand on display here and those looking to get an insight into the mind of man far above normal intelligence despite his psychical inhibitions should look elsewhere, as while the works of Hawking play apart here the focus remains largely on the trials and tribulations of Stephen and Jane’s marriage and the strain that was heaped upon them both in many aspects from the horrible onset of ALS.
James Marsh succeeds greatly in his treatment of Hawking’s dealings with this inhumane disease and not once does any situation that Hawking faces with his body failing feel over the top or played for pity votes and that is largely due also to the films constrained and respectful lead performances from two of the industry’s most impressive young talents.
In a role that has rightfully seen him nominated in most major award ceremonies around the world Redmayne is near unrecognisable as Hawking and displays a finely tuned acting power to be able to disappear into a man we are all so well accustomed to seeing, so much so that you begin to forget this is in fact not Hawking himself. In a less noticeable but no less powerful role Felicity Jones has gone on with the strength of acting shown in lesser known films and come full circle with a matured and naturalistic turn as Jane. Jane is the one we come out of the movie feeling most for and that is in no short way due to Jones’s believable and commanding turn. Stephen and Jane’s love story is one that can become quite awkward and at times utterly inspiring and these two performers nail it completely.
The Theory of Everything is a very watchable and at times moving experience but perhaps its greatest failings is that it’s a film we knew we were seeing before we had in fact seen it. Nothing much occurs here that we can’t have predicted, situations play out like the rule book set before it and everything feels a little to “nice” in a way that surely can’t have been the case in real life. A very interesting look into the life of a man we may never have thought of as one of us and with two great lead turns, this is a movie well worth your time but I’d suspect its appearance in this year’s Oscars will be an unfruitful one despite its award worthy lead turns.
3 and a half magazine subscriptions out of 5