The Theory of Everything (2014)
Directed by James Marsh
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones
There are some brilliant minds in this world and plenty of brilliant minds from the past who have pushed us to the peak of technology and the understanding of the world and the way we live. There is no doubt that Stephen Hawking is one of those great geniuses that has made a huge impact in his field of studies, but after you strip away the brilliance and the disease that he’s famous for, what you have left is a human being who is capable of feeling. That’s what The Theory of Everything is about.
Based on the 2008 memoir, “Traveling to Infinity: My Life With Stephen” by Jane Hawking, the film wisely chooses to direct its focus away from the scientific genius of Stephen Hawking and instead towards the relationship between him and his eventual wife. Stephen is diagnosed with symptoms related to Lou Gehrig’s disease when he was only 21 years old. Feelings of defeat and being cursed are natural, but it was Jane who snapped him out of his depression. There’s no doubt Stephen has a lot to thank Jane for and the film shows it.
While the film begins like a traditional romance, the drama crashes hard when their honeymoon phase is over. The disease takes a serious toll on both of them, obviously to Stephen but it hits Jane hard as well. Still, the two are able to have three children during their lives and Stephen passes the two-year-life-expectency by decades. But conflicts rise between the two when Jane becomes attracted to the awfully kind and generous church mentor, Jonathan. In addition, Jane and Stephen have always butted heads since Stephen is an athiest and Jane a Catholic.
There’s no doubt that Eddie Redmayne is receiving all the attention he deserves. To play a well-known man such as Stephen Hawking is intimidating, but to portray him so well that you forget that it’s Redmayne sitting in the wheel-chair during the film is a triumphant accomplishment. But he’s only as good as his counter-part (and arguably the real lead), Felicity Jones who plays Jane Hawking. She gives Jane the strength and perserverance the character needs during many difficult times caring for her husband. At the most crucial scenes, it’s Jane staring down a fork in the road between decisions that will affect both of their lives forever. How long can she continue to suffer and fight for things that challenge her existence. We must always fight to live, but in her case that can be questionable.
The Theory of Everything is most certainly an impressive glimpse into the lives of Stephen and Jane Hawking. It’s a love story between two people that challenge each other as much as they care for one another. The direction from James Marsh is important to mention because he treads a fine line between creating a cheesy chick-flick and an insightful love-drama. With the great performances by Redmayne and Jones, there’s nothing cheesy about this wonderful success story. It’s indeed a celebration of life, love, and pursuing your goals.