Opening Friday is one of the most anticipated films of the year from director James Marsh and Focus Features with the story about THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING.
Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) is a cosmology student at Cambridge University in 1963. He is study to discover answers about the universe. On this planet he is falling in love with Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones) and that would make his life complete except for one thing.
At the young age of 21 Stephen realizes something isn’t right about his motor skills. The doctor gives the diagnosis of motor neuron disease (MND) and two years to live. Wanting to make the most of their time together, Stephen and Jane marry and he moves towards finishing his doctorate.
Submitting work on the theory of creation, his work continues with the success of his book A Brief History in Time. His condition deteriorates and more is places on Jane. Raising their children and handling Stephen’s success leaves little time for Jane to follow her own dream.
They both would become responsible for world achievements in spite of the odds!
FINAL WORD: Redmayne as Stephen Hawking provides an awe inspiring performance and so much so that it becomes quite easy to forget he is playing a character. Adding humor and charm Redmayne brings such depth to a story that will pull at Oscar’s little golden heartstrings. This is not just a performance of words but the physical limits that he offers effortlessly that bring out such emotion. Hawking thought process is so well shown on Redmayne’s face that I was completely drawn in.
Jones as wife Jane is a woman who knows that the life she joins herself to isn’t going to be an easy one. Jones’ performance brings out every bit of the struggle, love, family and goals in one film. Dedicating herself to Hawking, Jane is a role filled with a personal struggle trying to find words of her own! The bigger frustration is knowing that it is easy to lose one’s self when caring for the welfare of others who count on you. Jones constantly pushes down the loss until there is no more room to push!
Other cast include: Harry Lloyd as Brian, Alice Ewing as Diana King, David Thewlis as Dennis Sciama, Thomas Morrison as Carter, Michael Marcus as Ellis, Gruffudd Lyn as Rees, Emily Watson as Beryl Wilde and Simon McBurney as Frank Hawking.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING four tubs of popcorn out of five. Introduced to Stephen Hawking in a major way while editing books in a prior career, I read A Brief History in Time. Admittedly enthralled with his concepts and ideas, I would later learn about his life but not in the details that Jane Hawking provides in her book Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen.
It is difficult when telling the story of anyone’s life in tad over two hours but with THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING, everything is the appropriate word. The director manages to put together the story that flows and in a blink two hours has gone. I wonder what Hawking would say about that in regards to time? The dynamic between Redmayne and Jones jumps out of the gate and doesn’t hit the finish line until a few seconds before the credits roll.
The cinematography is beautiful, set design very authentic looking especially spanning a twenty-five year relationship of the Hawkings’ and a score that is a cherry on top of the emotional cake.
Screenwriter Anthony McCarten says of Professor Hawking, “He has illuminated physics for the world, and there is a sense of the profound in all his work. That was enhanced by Stephen’s own physical situation, which only allowed him to compose his communications at the agonizing rate of one word per minute; here, in one man, was an unprecedented juxtaposition of extraordinary mental prowess and extraordinary physical incapacity”. It was the book Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen that led McCarten to write the script.
Director Bruce Marsh says that, ‘Stephen Hawking’s story, while bittersweet, is not a tragedy even though a near-fatal illness befalling a young able-bodies man with promise has all the elements of one. It’s Stephen’s character which takes that out of the equation; his defiance of the illness with humor, perseverance, and grit makes this story the opposite of the tragedy in the end. Fifty years on, Stephen is still alive – and that’s incredible.”
Take a moment this weekend to embrace a film that will have embracing the Hawking thought and THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING else.
In the end – “However bad life may seem, where there is life there is hope” – Stephen Hawking.