Following the story of acclaimed physicist Stephen Hawking from his days at Cambridge to the height of his fame, through his marriage and illness, The Theory of Everything stars Eddie Redmayne as Hawking, and Felicity Jones as his wife Jane.
It seems there is no end to the mileage that can be gotten out of Stephen Hawking’s life story. From the BBC drama starring Benedict Cumberbatch to numerous documentaries (including the one I wrote about previously here), he is a source of endless fascination to the British public. So what does this new film have to offer that the others don’t?
It’s an interesting look at a story that many Brits will know well – instead of focusing on Hawking’s scientific discoveries The Theory of Everything looks at everything Hawking achieved through the spectrum of marriage and from the perspective of his first wife, who fell in love with him during their time at university. It examines the struggle of the day to day life of living with someone with an illness – however, the film doesn’t quite brave sticking to this kind of narrative enough, which would have made the film a bit more interesting.
Redmayne’s performance is impeccable, and his embodying of disability as well as the essence of Hawking’s character is astonishing. Jones’s performance however is equally as good, and I hope that she isn’t overlooked when seen alongside Redmayne. At times it seems as though the performances are better than the film itself.
The narrative of the film follows so much of Hawking’s life, and tries to fit in so many aspects of Stephen and Jane’s time together that at times it can feel too sprawling – perhaps honing in on the development of the disease and the effect on romance would have been more poignant. There’s only so much that can be said of a life in one film, and I’m not sure this film quite managed to work out what it was trying to do.
A rose tinted view of a story that will warm the hearts of many, The Theory of Everything needs to do a bit more work on the sums behind its theory.