3.8 / 4
Simple is a hard thing to perfect. Movies, and even life, are often ruled by the bigger, the badder, the better. But there will always be something about movies with clarity and elegance that can effortlessly steal the breath from its audiences. The Theory of Everything is that movie. Even down to its soundtrack, this film moves the watcher from tears to laughter and back to tears again. It’s an exploration of life and the threads it’s woven of: fear, love, and hope.
The movie follows the personal life of well-known physicist, Dr. Stephen Hawking. Hawking is renowned as one of the best scientists of our generation. However, The Theory of Everything, which is based off of the novel written by Dr. Hawking’s ex-wife Jane Hawking, Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen, doesn’t focus on Hawking’s scientific life.
As many people know, Dr. Hawking suffers from ALS, also known as motor-neuron disease. He has long outlived his life expectancy, and touched the hearts and minds of people across the world and across time. The movie is centered around Hawking’s struggle against the degenerative characteristic of his disease and his romance with his first wife.
Don’t let the word “romance” turn you off, though. The Theory of Everything is without a doubt one of the most moving movies recently made. It’s driven by incredibly strong performances from its leading actors, namely Eddie Redmayne, who portrays Stephen Hawking. The way Redmayne and the director (James Marsh) show both Hawking’s charisma and brilliance along with his descent into his condition is honest and heart breaking. The viewer feels frustrated when Stephen is frustrated, they laugh when Stephen laughs. The audience becomes emotionally invested in Hawking’s character and its all down to Redmayne’s stunning performance.
Redmayne’s co-lead, Felicity Jones also gives a powerful performance as Jane Hawking. The chemistry between Jones and Redmayne truly adds to the effect of the movie. The two actors play off of each other well, giving the viewer very authentic feeling emotion.
The Theory of Everything is a highly protagonist-based story, and most of the acting is carried by Redmayne and Jones, though a few people do come through as strong supporting characters. David Thewlis plays the dusty Stephen’s Cambridge professor and mentor. Harry Lloyd plays Stephen’s college best friend and roommate. Charlie Cox and Maxine Peake add to the movie as more compelling secondary characters. Despite the strong performance every character gives, the best work comes undeniably from Redmayne and Jones.
Love is in the air, but not in the way you might expect it. This movie leaves no room for frills, diving into a deep and honest depiction of marriage and love and how they stand through the passage of time.
On the subject of time, we come to one of the only negative things about the movie: it’s very difficult to follow the timeline. The plot doesn’t jump around a lot, but it tends to leap forward without announcement. The way the screenwriters and director have set it up, we follow the Hawkings’ lives and the major trials in them. This requires years of calm to go by in the blink of an eye, just to skip to the next thing. Not that the movie’s runtime allows for many more additions. At just over 2 hours, The Theory of Everything is just this side of being too long.
One of the greatest things about this movie is its music. Composed by Jóhann Jóhannsson and driven by sweet piano melodies, if The Theory of Everything doesn’t make you cry, the soundtrack just might. It’s the perfect blend of powerful and quietly hopeful. If you aren’t ready for a two hour dedication to the movie, you can still make a 50 minute dedication to the soundtrack, which is available on youtube.
Ultimately, The Theory of Everything is about life. It beautifully depicts the rush of the highs and the gut-wrenching lows, woven together with occasional patches of low-ambient-noise home video style pieces. Everything from the color scheme to the camerawork brings this movie together in a way that will hold you at the edge of your next breath. Not only does it give an emotional and honest portrayal of life, but a small bit of representation for people who are disabled with motor-neuron disease. It’s a beacon of hope and love, and definitely worth 3.8 out of 4 stars.