Movie Review: The Theory Of Everything

Image Source: Wikipedia
Image Source: Wikipedia

Distributors: Focus Features and Universal Pictures
Production Company: Working Title Films
Director: James Marsh
Producers: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce and Anthony McCarten
Scriptwriters: Anthony McCarten
Main Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox, Emily Watson, Simon McBurney, David Thewlis and Christian McKay
Released: September 7 2014 (TIFF) and January 1 2015 (UK)
Running Time: 123 Minutes
Certificate: 12A

Right now in Hollywood, it is awards season. The Oscars are fast approaching on February 22, and films are jostling to be winners.

One such movie is The Theory of Everything, which has been nominated for five Oscars, including Best Actor for Eddie Redmayne. The film is a biopic of the theoretical physicist Stephan Hawking, and was developed from the memoirs of his ex-wife Jane Wilde Hawking. The film had it world premiere back in September 2014 at the Toronto International Film Festival, and it received brilliant feedback. From there, it has been nominated for the Golden Globes and the Oscars.

If you are looking for a movie about the science of Stephan Hawking, his achievements and his working background, well, this isn’t the film for you. The film’s primary focus is the relationship he develops with his girlfriend-come-wife Jane, while motor neurone disease begins to slowly degenerate his abilities. It is a heart-breaking story, yet one that ultimately leaves you feeling uplifted by the end, because of the struggle he has faced and continues to faces, and everything he has overcome, to still be around today.

There is only one place to start in this review, and that is the performance by Eddie Redmayne. He allows the character to completely take over his performance; there were times during the film when you really can’t tell the difference between the real Hawking and Redmayne. It’s not a simple role at all: he has to act as if he is playing different characters from beginning to end. In fact, because this movie was not filmed in chronological order, it makes it even harder for him to show how he has physically degenerated down the years. We see the disease begin to take effect, right up to the present day difficulties that Hawking endures. The highest praise I can give Redmayne is that, at certain points in the film, you can’t imagine this character being played any other way because you are so engrossed by the different stages of his condition at those moments. The performance by Felicity Jones, who plays Jane, is also brilliant: while the film does focus on Hawking and his disease, it also does a fantastic job of showing the emotional impact it has on his friends and family, especially his wife.

The story moves along at a pleasing pace: you never feel that they are over-exposing certain parts of his life, but they delve into a suitable amount of detail that you feel like you know enough about the history of his life. I must admit that I knew very little about motor neurone disease before going to see this film; now that I have seen this movie, I am much more knowledgeable about the physics of the disease.

Before filming, Eddie Redmayne would meet with Stephen Hawking to find out little details about his life and to look at some of his mannerisms. The rest of the cast are very good, but they allow the central characters to shine throughout. As stated before, the focus of the film is Hawking’s love life as opposed to his scientific work, which has attracted some detractors. But, in my opinion, it gives the film a more powerful narrative and an increasingly dramatic climax than if it had focused solely on the science. As much as this is a love story, the science is approached and is more than just a minor plotline. Stephen’s theory of black holes and the beginning of the universe are prominent components of the story, as they change how the world viewed Hawking and made him a man to believe in.

For a love story, I felt that the film could have been a bit more emotional; if some scenes had been a little longer and been more focused, then we may have felt more emotion towards the characters. That being said, the ending of the film is very uplifting thanks to a powerful final speech by Hawking.

Overall, I believe that this film is a fantastic blend of science, love and tragedy. As much as the disease retains the focus of the audience, the relationship between the characters through each stage of his illness must be applauded as well. Eddie Redmayne is the outstanding performer of the movie and, to me, should be the favourite to lift the Oscars for Best Actor and Best Performance. The Theory of Everything is an enjoyable film for all the family, which will leave you feeling uplifted, inspired and sympathetic at the same time.

Overall Rating: 8/10 – Very Good