‘The Theory of Everything’ — review

The Oscar-nominated biopic of Stephen Hawking will change everybody’s mind.

(Focus Features, Universal Pictures)

Although some critics would argue that the romantic angle of the film is a letdown, I say that the film should be seen as a whole, not just individual parts mashed together.

★★★★☆ —By Karl B. Briguera

The Theory of Everything is the cinematic biography of one of the most notable figures of modern science, Stephen Hawking. Saying that this movie is just another biopic courting an Oscar nod is an understatement, in a sense that this is a movie that talks about life, love, and humanity. This premise alone is great especially now that films rarely dwell in this kind of simple and humble scope. Nowadays, it’s a cheesy romantic comedy or an overly dramatic action movie or a musical with a twist.

Prominently, this film follows the life of Stephen (Eddie Redmayne) and Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones) battling through numerous obstacles both in their careers and personal lives. This lets people know how inspiring the struggles of Stephen were because people are rarely aware how much he has sacrificed throughout his world-changing career. This is a story of how science, religion, family, and love fits in the chaotic mess we call the universe.

Hawking (Redmayne) courts Jane (Felicity Jones) before his ALS diagnosis

The Chemistry.

Redmayne and Jones’ striking portrayal of Stephen and Jane certainly gives a sense of passion and charm. Each scene of them as a couple will drag you through the twist and turns of relationships. The couple will take you with them through the triumphs of their romance, but will also drag you through their agonies, their pains. Although some critics would argue that the romantic angle of the film is a letdown, I say that the film should be seen as a whole, not just individual parts mashed together.

Eddie Redmayne’s remarkable performance as Stephen earned him an Oscar this year, with Hawking himself dubbing it “broadly true.” Redmayne said in an interview, “He’s [Hawking] unable to move the vast majority of his muscles, but he smiles, and there’s a spark in his eye.” — (Focus Features)

Eddie Redmayne.

The Oscar-winning performance of Eddie Redmayne is one of the film’s highlights. His mastery of the character will definitely convince you every scene of the way. The way he believably communicates Stephen’s sickness in a way that doesn’t look forced and how harrowing it was to see the gradual side effects of ALS unfold on the screen through the British thesp’s unbelievable acting chops. It’s obvious how much Redmayne prepared for this “role of a lifetime.”

Director James Marsh (left) with Redmayne and Jones. “He allowed us the freedom to mess up,” says Redmayne. “That’s where interesting work happens — on the bridge of failure and success.” — THR

The Direction and Cinematography.

James Marsh, the director, clearly understood the essence of this movie, and did not stray too far away from the book where it was based from. Throughout the movie, the pace of it is really easy to go along with. Even with its great cinematography, there isn’t much of a gimmick to distract you from the message of the movie. The entirety told in a very intimate way so that people could absorb each life changing moment for Stephen.

The Material.

Primarily based on the memoir of Jane Hawking, Travelling to Infinity: My Life With Stephen, the movie is the written account of their 25-year marriage. With such an intimate and detailed source, the script was made so full and rich, the movie couldn’t be any more convincing. Being one of the most famous and influential people of this century, Stephen Hawking’s life as a person isn’t much of a popular topic. This movie will change everybody’s mind. People may not realize that Stephen, before the fame, was also a normal person, but with dreams that were out of this world.

The Theory of Everything is definitely great movie. It will inspire you in whatever endeavor you may have now. It will make you reconsider your situation in life and will motivate you more to pursue your own goals as heartfelt as Stephen Hawking did. If not, I’m sure you’ll find something to relate to in this wonderful film. ■ AH Online / The Culture Review

Watch the trailer here:

(Editor’s Note: This article was first published in AH Volume IV Issue 1, July 2014)