The Theory of Everything (2014)


The Theory of Everything (2014)The first bit of awards bait out of the way today, saying that sounds quite cynical, but it’s true and I don’t care because The Theory of Everything (2014) is worth all that and more when you see it for yourself. I was sold really with the trailer which still gave me enough to think I’ve not seen it all in a 2 min advert. I’ve been aware of Stephen Hawking for a while, I like probably a lot of us not knowing what his scientific influence has been a part from being very influential. Or am I just being ignorant? Like many others not knowing his life story, a part of popular culture for more than just his theories that have improved out understand of our position in the grand scheme of things. A professor whose private life I knew even less about. Having not even caught the Benedict Cumberbatch version a few years ago in Hawking (2004) so I can’t comment on how they both differ. A feature-length look at the professor allows obviously for a more in-depth look at both himself and his wives lives together.

I can’t go on without mentioning the sheer bravery and professionalism of Eddie Redmayne who like actors before him gave us an incredible performance as a disabled person with great sensitivity, something that must have taken a lot of research and time not just to get right but to acknowledge the real-life struggles that Hawking himself has gone through whilst living with this debilitating disease Motor Neurone Disease that slowly destroys the nervous system, eventually paralysing and kills the individual. In theory, as we all know Hawking has far outlived his original prognosis of two years to produce his original theory about black holes, only to disprove it and write a book on time (briefly anyway). What we could have had was a poor and insensitive portrayal that offended, this is anything but, you can see a lot of effort has gone into getting it right, from the gestures to the look of Hawking, who himself has highly praised on seeing the film.

It’s not just about Hawking who is giving more of a build up than his wife Jane (Felicity Jones) who we see is around, sticking by him after the diagnosis, not just because of the love she had for him but the bravery she had too. Something you have to admire in all relatives and carers, not just of this disease but all conditions that require that little bit more to stand by their partners and loved ones when the odds can be stacked against them. Jones delivers a strong performance opposite Redmayne’s rich and strong performance that takes centre stage. Jane is not really the focus of the film until we’ve seen Stephen achieve his phd and started to feel his worldwide fame. That’s when it starts to hit home, what about Jane who has been stood on the side lines, who has cared for him, raised their children, we have to see the impact all this ultimately has on her. The wait feels long, and worth it as we see the knock-on effect of being a full-time mum and carer. The family life starts to break down with the arrival of another man who becomes a carer (kind of).

All this bring balance to a film that could be just about Hawking, which could be about his scientific achievements and breakthroughs which have allowed our understand of the world to grow. Instead we have a heartfelt film that is hugely funny at times, I knew already that Hawking had a good sense of humour which has translated to the big screen here with Redmayne who is more than likely to pick up some awards. Whilst the other side of things with Jane the reality of living with a great man who needs great care is sensitively dealt with. The wonder and magic wears away to be a normal marriage with all the give and take which sadly breaks down. There is also a moment near the end of the film during the Q&A he gives that for nearly made me cry, reminding me of the bank-run in It’s a Wonderful Life (1947) both completely different scenes yet great examples of the power of film, to allow us to connect and feel for the characters. I won’t tell you which scene from Everything, instead I’ll leave you with the classic moment in the buildings and loans.

 I’m not saying The Theory of Everything will be a classic that is only something that time will tell. It does tell a powerful story with heart, humour and a sense of reality and wonder. To defeat the odds, carry on no matter what. When reality hits just carrying on no matter what. It’s very British too, it couldn’t be any other way, with a fair amount of schmaltz too that allows the emotion of the film pack a punch as you leave the screen.

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2 responses

  1. Haven’t seen this. Rose is nagging me.
    This guy appears to do a spectacular job on a difficult role.

    January 6, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    • I think you should give in and go with her. Its a role that needs great respect and it really does get it

      January 6, 2015 at 9:55 pm

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