The Theory of Everything is a biographical film of Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne), that focuses on the details of his relationship with Jane Hawking (Felicity Jones) based on the memoir, “Travelling to Infinity: My Life With Stephen” written by Jane Hawking herself. The film starts off in the 1960s when Stephen, a PhD student in the University of Cambridge, meets Jane in a party for the first time. The film then escalates to the marriage between the two following the diagnosis of Stephen’s motor neuron disease. For most parts, it features the struggles on Jane’s part to take care of Stephen, while he pursues his physics theories.
The Theory of Everything has been critically acclaimed since its first screening last year. A lot of attention has been focused on Eddie Redmayne for his part as the famous Professor Stephen Hawking. It is no surprise in the film business that whenever anyone plays a character with great physical disabilities well, he or she will almost automatically fall upon the media’s spotlight. Having said that, I do think that Redmayne has done pretty well for himself in this character, after catching all our attention with his performance in Les Misérables in 2012. And I think in general, the cast have done a good job in this film. The internal and emotional conflicts within each character in facing Stephen’s predicament have been portrayed in such a subtle, non-apparent way manner that reflects such depth within the characters, especially Jane Hawking.
Putting the casts aside, I do have quite a few things to say comment on screenplay. Since it’s based on Jane Hawking’s memoir, I feel that there is a jarring sense of bias throughout in film in that the perspective of the film takes on Stephen’s side a little too much. The struggles faced by Jane Hawking seem to have been understated tremendously and belittled to a certain extent that I feel that the essence of the film has been distorted. If the true meaning of the film is to portray the struggles in the marriage between Stephen and Jane in combating the disease while working hard to support Stephen in his professional path, then the entire picture must be painted correctly and precisely down to every detail in the best way possible, instead of downplaying important parts to pacify the audience with Professor Hawking’s reputation.
Having said all that, with the contents of the film, James Marsh has done a great job in this film especially while having to fit in that much content within 2 hours. The beginning of the film was spot on and clear cut, setting the film with just the right mood that foreshadows what the film brings to the audience. I think the casting director has done a brilliant job in finding a Stephen Hawking that looks so similar to the actual person at that age! Not to mention the credits to the costume and make-up crew.
Although having expected more originality out of the screenplay, The Theory of Everything is a film that’s definitely worth the 123 minutes of your life, as it is not only a wonderful film with well-rounded casts, but it tells a great story of one of the greatest physicists of our time.
Director: James Marsh
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox, David Thewlis.
Running Time: 123 minutes
Release Date: 21 November 2014