‘THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING’ REVIEW
There’s no doubt that most people will have heard of Stephen Hawking and his success as a scientist. When seeing the trailer for ‘The Theory of Everything’ it made me realise how little I knew about his life – but not only his but the life of his wife Jane. The story is truly fascinating and one which provides an emotional ride for viewers. The film is based on Jane’s novel ‘Travelling to Infinity – My Life with Stephen’ by Jane Hawking.
As an enrolled graduate at Cambridge, Stephen (Eddie Redmayne) is established as one of the leading minds in his class, but also in the meantime falls in love and wins the heart of Jane (Felicity Jones). It all happens quickly and suddenly but soon Stephen is diagnosed with motor neuron disease, after a serious fall, and loses the function in his body. Although Stephen tries to shut Jane from his life, she insists staying with him, despite being only given two years to live. The biopic film shows us how strong love can be between two people, and how loyal and committed people can be when put through life’s challenges. Diagnosed with two years to live, we see how Stephen’s life-expectancy extends further, him and Jane marry, Stephen graduates from his doctoral programme, his increasing interest in cosmological physics and how despite his condition he and Jane are able to produce three children, Lucy, Robert and Timothy.
Whilst Stephen has gained a spotlight from his work however, Jane loses spirit as the year’s progress on, feeling more like a nurse rather than a wife. She soon joins the church choir and befriends the Church choir tutor Jonathon (Charlie Cox). As they get close, Stephen has an episode during watching an opera performance – doctors hesitate to perform a tracheotomy due to the fact his muscles have undergone atrophy, but Jane insists. Stephen survives but loses his voice, which brings Elaine (Maxine Peake) into the picture as hired help by Jane. We then see how Stephen’s robotic speech programme is installed. This helps him to write his book ‘A Brief History of Time.’
Whilst the future of Stephen and Jane remained on rocky roads throughout their life together, the film ends on Jane accompanying Stephen on receiving a title from the Queen.
The performances within this film are all-round outstanding. Most reviews I’ve seen, of course, focus on the main actor but bear with me whilst I bring attention to the performance of Felicity Jones who plays the role of Jane Hawking. There have been comments made that the script and the style of the movie, although adapted from Jane’s own memoir, limited Felicity’s ability to really bring out the role however I thought it was done perfectly. Her struggle and conflict is done so perfectly and with such simplicity. However I do agree with previous comments in the sense that in order to keep the tact and tastefulness that this film possesses it does leave out some important questions that some people may have wanted to know. The review by the Telegraph highlighted a few of these: Did they ever fight? Was their intimate life at all difficult bearing in mind all three of their children were conceived after hawking’s deterioration? The movie actually vaguely highlights this in a rather amusing scene were Stephen is seen having a conversation with Brian, a friend from Cambridge, were Brian asked if ‘everything’ is affected by the disease. I’m sure that doesn’t need explaining.
But this movie does truly belong to Eddie Redmayne, who just recently won a Golden Globe for this role. I know for a fact I went into this film with a high expectation due to a long time love of Redmayne however to say I was blown away would be an understatement. The grace and astonishing way Redmayne carries the character is beyond anything I thought I would see. The sheer incredibly physicality of the performance is enough but you really get a sense of Stephen’s optimism and determination. At times during this film you forget you’re watching an actor due to the way Redmayne has completely and utterly inhabited the role.
Overall I think this film and it’s actors, without a doubt, deserve every award they are nominated for this year.
Rachael Millmoor and Claire McGowan