The Theory of Everything.
UK National release:January 1st Rating:(PG)Runtime: 118 mins
Director:James Marsh Screenplay:Anthony McCarten
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, David Thewlis, Tom Prior, Charlie Cox and Maxine Peake.
The Theory of Everything, directed by James Marsh, is not quite the biopic of the theoretical physicist that some may first think. Neither is it an adaptation of how he came to write his groundbreaking bestseller, ‘A Brief History of Time’; this film centers predominantly on Hawking’s early years as a Cambridge fellow, upon meeting his first wife Jane, and the magnificent beginnings of both Hawking’s notoriety as a theorist and his equally unique story of being diagnosed with a form of Motor Neuron Disease (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and surviving well past the maximum two years he was expected to live.
Jane, played so sweetly and effortlessly by Felicity Jones – who many will already know before going into the film, would later divorce the celebrated author and scientist, and who finally has her side of a much shadowed story is finally exposed here. Which is why this film, though lacking in it’s delivery on the cosmos and physics part, is still a theoretical wonder. Everything from meeting Jane; surviving a degenerative disease and theorising the beginning of time, The Theory of Everything, isn’t your average story of an amazing life succombed to tragedy of a life since gone – it’s a celebration and rare uplifting look at the beginnings of one of the worlds most revered and devoted academics and the unsung hero that helped him get there.
The chance meeting of a 21 year-old Stephen Hawking and Jane (then known as Wilde) at a party happens after the latter’s socialite companion, whining about the unlikely pool of suitors, suddenly engages in conversation with someone she does know – leaving Jane to wonder, catching the sparkling gaze of one young bespectacled Hawking (the beautiful gaze attributed to the stunning Redmayne of course).
They begin courting, and it’s all very lovely until the expected – but nonetheless tragic – signs of his illness gradually begins to unravel. It’s a romance at this point, Jane vowing to stick by Stephen’s side for his two-year sentence, despite his attempts to dissuade her advances to be with him. Their engagement, as mentioned by the real Hawking, is what gave him something to live for.
The nuanced displays of Hawking’s illness are played out superbly from the onset; scene to scene they become more isolated and pronounced – and even though we know what’s coming, it’s still an engaging and uncompromising painstaking detail that Redmayne carries brilliantly that sure to earn him an oscar nod.
Ironically it’s essentially his performance that overshadows much of Felicity’s own subtle brilliance as Jane. True to life, she is the gracious co-captain, easily seen as the supporting actress, but pay attention and you’ll notice how she takes on the sweet mannered role and effortlessly develops her into a fiercely loyal, strong-minded woman who raised a young family and, for the formative part of his wonderful career, nursed her husband past his degenerative life expectancy – subsequently having to manage his increasingly demanding schedule and popularity. It’s a blink and you’ll miss it performance. As Stephen’s star rises and his control over his body disintegrates rapidly, it becomes a chore and obligation born out of love. Jane becomes a little annoyed, frustrated but ever dutiful.
Inevitably both Hawkings’ begin to drift apart – eventually meeting and falling in love with other people. However it appears to be a (to use the glib term) ‘conscious uncoupling’ – the adoration and respect is still there – highlighted by Stephen’s liberal acceptance of the growing relationship between Jane and the man who would (after a long platonic relationship) later become her spouse – Jonathan Hellyer Jones and the likewise when Stephen decides to leave Jane for one of his nurses, and second wife, Elaine Mason. However through all this it is still Jane he invites to the Palace to receive his knighthood from the Queen. His constant, a further admonition on the scientists part of how much he owes to her being by his side.
But everything in between is a truly enthralling love story of joy, pain and the incomparable random wonder of life – and few are as wonderful as Stephen and Jane Hawking’s. Beautifully composed – musically and visually, working together to translate much of Stephen’s cognitive brilliance using animated mathematical scrawlings turning it into magical wonder rather than a whole lot of information a majority of us would be bored by. It’s a heartwarming story shining another light on the man, who is in the truest sense: a living legend – but more importantly the woman behind him.
- a brief history of time
- british cinema
- british film
- charlie cox
- David Thewlis
- Eddy redmayne
- felicity jones
- hawing at cambridge
- james marsh
- jane hawking
- jane wild
- lou gehrig's disease
- maxine peake
- motor neuron disease
- stephen hawking
- The theory of everything
- Tom Prior