Published on December 26th, 2014 | by Allan Brown0
The Theory Of Everything Review
Movie Review: The Theory of Everything (2015)
Running Time: 123 mins
Director: James Marsh
Writers: Anthony McCarten (screenplay), Jane Hawking (book)
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox, Emily Watson, David Thewlis
The Theory of Everything begins in 1963, where at Cambridge University, a bright Ph.D. student, falls head over heels for who would inevitably become the love of his life, Miss Jane Wilde. However, when Stephen is suddenly diagnosed with motor neuron disease (MND/ALS/ Lou Gehrig’s disease) and little more than two years to live, despair quickly sets in. But just as Stephen plunges into a numb depression, isolating himself from the world, Jane promises to devote her life-long love and commitment to him without question. And so, we are guided through several decades of the couple’s life together, capturing the physical degeneration, emotional struggles and internal battles that ensued over their 30 year marriage together.
Eddie Redmayne embodies the role in a rich, multi-layered performance as man himself, capturing the charm and warmth of the father and husband behind the genius we all know. Even at the most debilitating stages of the disease, Redmayne is able to convey a depth and emotionality without words or even movement, only further highlighting the heart-breaking reality that this is a man who’s physical affliction, effectively makes him a prisoner in his own body.
Felicity Jones also offers a stunning portrayal in the supporting role as Jane Hawking. She beautifully captures the strength of her character as she battles tirelessly with her commitment, position and needs as a wife, carer and mother.
It could be argued the story lacks any real sense of direction aside from the couples onward struggle and perseverance with the disease. As a result, the film at times, feels a little stagnant due to the lack of driving force or sense of urgency pushing the story forward. We are offered the notion that Stephen is working on his ‘Theory of Everything’ behind the scenes, but little to this side of his life or work is shared or explored in the film. So, despite his disease, this could really be a film about any young family dealing with MND. They marry, have children and Stephen pursues his career whilst managing his disease as best he can, supported by the people around him. But what director James Marsh does to avoid clichéd stereotypes so common in such films, is to make sure the supporting cast have as much shade and character complexity as the lead. In fact, it could even be said that Stephen himself is in the supporting role here, and that The Theory of Everything is really the biopic of Jane Hawking. Either way, by the end of film you will be left with the profound notion and realisation that the genius we all love and respect, may not be where he is today if it wasn’t for the sacrifices, unwavering optimism and immeasurable support of his wife; Jane Hawking.
Summary: Anchored by two wonderful Oscar worthy performances and a stunning score, The Theory of Everything is a beautifully inspiring love story that blossoms from an impossibly difficult situation.