The Theory of Everything (2015) – Film Review

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The Theory of Everything stars Eddie Remayne in a biopic of celebrated super-brain Professor Stephen Hawking.  It tells the story of the main thrust of his life from his time at Cambridge and discovering his illness, his attempts at having an ordinary family life, through to the publishing of his world famous book A Brief History of Time.  The film is directed by James Marsh who amongst other things directed the fascinating documentary Man on Wire (2008).  The film is based on a book (Travelling to Infinity – My Life with Stephen) written by Professor Hawking’s first wife Jane.

My appetite for this film was well and truly wet by a featurette I saw at my local world of cinema.  I was expecting fireworks from Eddie Redmayne and he delivers.  I already know he will be a front runner in my 2015 awards and I want him to take the Oscar statue home at the upcoming ceremony.  The physicality of his acting and the delicate hints he leaves at the upcoming slow motion car crash are wonderful to watch.  I can but pay him the highest tribute as an actor – I forgot I was watching Mr Redmayne.

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In the acting stakes we can’t forget his co-star Felicity Jones who plays his first wife in the film.  She holds her own as Professor Hawking’s rock, raising the kids almost single handed and helping him to keep working.  She won’t accept that his illness is the end, Jane recognises the genius within and pushes him to continue.  The film very much depicts them as a partnership.  There has been some criticism that Jane is not shown in a positive light during the film.  I can understand this criticism to a certain extent as there are implications of infidelity but as she makes the decision to stand by his side during a critical time I think the criticism is ultimately not deserved.

The film is not perfect.  While there are elements of levity I think there were more opportunities to find humour in the absurdity of his illness and the things we wouldn’t think about becoming complete showstoppers for Professor Hawking.  I think there could have been more darkness offering a greater contrast with the humour.  The film shy’s away from the impact of his illness on his children and how they reacted.  They are also left out of the movie completely as the marriage hits rocky shores.

In summary I think The Theory of Everything is a must see for film fans with two great powerhouse leads.  Rating 4/5.

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