Stephen Hawking is a genius. Fitting then, that he is portrayed in The Theory of Everything (opening today) with a brilliant performance by Eddie Redmayne. You may have heard some hype and some pre-Oscar buzz about Redmayne’s performance (and that of the equally amazing Felicity Jones), and I’m here to tell you that it is all well-deserved.
Hawking of course, is a ground-breaking, best-selling theoretical physicist and cosmologist, who was diagnosed with ALS, a neuro-disease that gradually eroded his body. Today he cannot move and speaks with the help of a computer that modulates his typed words into spoken ones. His brain, however, was and is his greatest gift, and remained totally cognizant despite the other failing parts of his body. The Theory of Everything is his story, and it is proof enough that anything is possible…or as he says, where there is life, there is hope.
The movie takes us back to his days at Cambridge University, with a fully-functioning body, well before the discovery of his disease. He meets a beautiful young student, Jane (Felicity Jones), and it is literally love at first sight. From there, their romance is chronicled, leading up to and past the point of his diagnosis.
Redmayne transforms himself physically and gives a tour de force performance. To say that this role is pure Oscar bait is to take nothing away from it. There will be Oscar gold in his future. Much of his performance comes without being able to speak, and by conveying emotions with twitches of his eyes or lips. Really, he’s phenomenal.
While Hawking’s condition worsens, his spirits rarely do…remarkable, some would say, since his studies usually debunk the idea of a religious deity. Matched at every moment though is Felicity Jones as Jane, who is beautiful, innocent and hopeful, gradually eroding too, into a strong, stoic figure determined to care for her first love long past the point where others may have called it quits.
The film itself is beautiful and inspiring, but the main draw is Redmayne and Jones. The Theory of Everything thrives as a story about a man who has dedicated his entire life to proving the cosmic properties of time, whose own life is an example of scientific anomaly.
Genre: Drama, Biography, Romance
Run Time: 2 hours 3 minutes, Rated PG-13
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Tom Prior, Harry Lloyd, Devid Thewlis
Based on the book by Jane Hawking
Directed by James Marsh (Shadow Dancer, Project Nim, The King, Man on Wire)
Opens locally on Friday, Nov 21, 2014 (check for show times).
Be sure to watch Tom Santilli on TV! Check your local listings for “Movie Show Plus” for Tom’s weekly movie review segment.
How to read Tom Santilli’s “Star Ratings:”
- 5 Stars: Exceptional, must-see movie
- 4 Stars: Very good movie, not without flaws
- 3 Stars: The movie was just OK, leaves a lot to be desired
- 2 Stars: Pretty bad, a let-down, disappointing, but with some redeeming qualities
- 1 Star: Awful, sloppy, a total waste of time