The Theory of Everything
As in any biopic, the interpretation must walk the line between verbatim, dramatic and romantic. The Theory of Everything is a picture so raw, so delicate and so heartbreaking that it encapsulates all three to produce a film worthy of award, and a slice of history, scientific and social, immortalised.
Utterly riveting from beginning to end, Eddie Redmayne gives the performance of a lifetime. Stephen Hawking is a character in life enriched with charisma, intelligence beyond comprehension and an unending desire to progress, and so in this film. Redmayne’s transformation is a feat not often seen at this level, Hawking himself commented “At times I thought he was me” – and it’s difficult to disagree.
The Theory of Everything is first and foremost about Hawking’s love story. It weaves in Stephen’s genius quietly and cleverly, set against the quaint backdrop of Cambridge. Felicity Jones is marvellous as Jane, inflecting her with stoicism, admiration and strength. Director James Marsh has tackled a real life of extraordinary challenges and doesn’t leave anything out. Uncomfortable at times, disability and brilliance are at once tender and inspiring, while the romance is all-encompassing but not fanciful.
There’s a microscopic element to this that highlights Hawking in all his forms: emotionally brittle, intellectually unrivalled but with an enormous capacity for love and potential. It’s completely sympathetic, which at moments undervalues the enormity of the strain Jane was under in caring for her young family and for the man she loved and respected. It’s human, it’s real life, and the decisions of central characters will strike a chord with audiences, whether good or ill.
One hopes that The Theory of Everything is a work that Hawking can take pride in – it certainly is for the filmmakers and exemplary cast. A triumph.
The Theory of Everything is released nationwide on 1st January 2015.
Watch the trailer for The Theory of Everything here: