The Theory of Everything (2014)
A Review by: Jeff Turner
Dir: James Marsh
Written by: Anthony McCarten
Produced by: Working Title Films
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, David Thewlis, Charlie Cox
Biopics about geniuses with tragic disabilities are always a shoo-in for Iis that despite the fact that I knew Stephen Hawking was in fact alive and well, Eddie Redmayne delivers such a strong performance that he made me fearful. This is some of the most compelling acting I’ve seen this year, from both Redmayne and Felicity Jones as Jane Hawking, even if the movie itself is a bit bloated.
THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING, follows Stephen Hawking’s career, marriage, and his unfortunate battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease. Eddie Redmayne is a revelation as Hawking, with a presence in the early scenes that produces one of the few convincing scientists of the movies of 2014, and a delivery in the later scenes resembling Daniel Day Lewis in MY LEFT FOOT.
Another standout is Felicity Jones as Jane Hawking. She is absolutely stunning, equally nurturing, effervescent, and subdued. A factor about THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING that really works is the relationship between the two Hawkings. If you are a student of history, you might know that Hawking eventually leaves this woman for his nurse. This doesn’t play out akin to a typical romantic drama. These two understand each other, he understands her strife, and she his. The two communicate and rarely fight. These characters talk like they’re actually friends.
This is improved by Redmayne and Jones’ great chemistry with each other. The two are a couple worth rooting for, you genuinely feel invested in them, despite their differences in religion and their inevitable falling out of love. The supporting cast is also strong, featuring a solid performance as the choir director who comforts Jane in her troubles, and whom they eventually marry. Another performance that is also strong is David Thewlis as one of Hawking’s teachers and colleagues. Thewlis brings the experience of working as Professor Lupin on the HARRY POTTER films to his teacher here, creating a person you’d fell you respect. Cox’s choir director isn’t the typical movie home-wrecker, he is liked by both members of his family; he is helpful, kind, and likable.
If you know the story of Stephen Hawking, you might be disappointed by the moments where the movie occasionally plays it safe. The screenplay by Andrew McCarten is solid, but he sticks in several montages that cause the movie to go about 15 minutes longer than it should. THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING could have been far worse than it is, the finished product is compelling, emotional watching. Well worth a view.
Suggestion: See It