The Theory of Everything directed by James Marsh is a beautiful little film that chronicles the life and times of Professor Stephen Hawking. This film puts its best foot forward by having the performances be its crowning glory but also takes the time to pay great attention and care to the telling story of Professor Stephen Hawking and his then wife Jane Hawking.
Without a doubt the most wonderful part of The ‘Theory of Everything’ is the absolutely stunning performances by Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones who play Stephen Hawking and Jane Hawking. Both of these actors are flawless in the film and both bring a heartfelt realism to the characters. Mr Redmayne deserves particular praise for his work as the Professor, the transformation that he slowly goes through in the film is astounding to watch, going from a young, lively Cambridge student to a man who is struggling to eat his dinner is heart breaking but also an unflinchingly true performance. I never once so anyone but the character, Redmayne really does become Hawking, it is an absolute accomplishment on his part, this could have easily been an uncomfortably bad performance to watch but he nails it completely, you really do start to believe that he is a man with motor neurone disease. Eddie Redmayne definitely deserves the praise and accolades that he is receiving in this year’s award season and I expect he will be receiving many more in the weeks to come.
Not to be overlooked either is the just as wonderful Felicity Jones who plays the struggling wife to Mr Hawking. The noticeable bond but at the same time dichotomy between the two characters in the film is sweet and also saddening. Ms Jones is as much deserving of praise as her co-star. She never once falters in her performance and this is as much her characters story as it is Professor Hawking’s. She brings such strength to the character and even in her characters most weak of moments you still care for her and want the best for both of them. This was key I think to keeping this film on track, this film could have easily turned into a cheap soap opera type story, especially with some of the situations it was touching upon but thanks to the performance of Ms Jones I felt the film kept an air of quality and dignity to it all. The chemistry between both Felicity Jones and her co-star is another point in which this film succeeds, from the first time these two meet there is an instant connection and you really do believe in these two and their story, had this not been the case the film would have surely suffered.
I did have a slight issue with the structuring of the story. The film rushes through the earlier years of Hawking’s life, almost seeming to want to charge forward to the part where his affliction has deteriorated the majority of his body. I would have preferred a little more time to be given to his younger years instead of just jumping quite rapidly through what might be deemed the most crucial parts (a highlight reel almost).
One thing that stood out to me while I was watching the film was its attention to detail when it came to the different eras in which the story took place. In the early years of Hawking’s life, everything had a look and the feel of Cambridge in the 1950’s, clothing, shop fronts, the cars they drove etc. As the film progressed through time the level of detail continued and though wasn’t always the first thing you’d notice I did enjoy the subtle details, Stephen and Jane Hawking’s type writer later on being replaced with a computer that was noticeably from the time period in which that part of the story was taking place is one simple example that comes to mind.
The Theory of Everything is a brilliant British film that wonderfully captures the early life and times of Professor Stephen Hawking and his wife Jane Hawking. It is a film bursting with heart and is one that I loved every minute of seeing.
I would happily recommend this film to anyone, it is well worth seeing and is one of the most touching films I have seen in some time.