The Theory of Everything has been a success critically and has recently received a Golden Globe for its leading man Eddie Redmayne. But is the film really worth all the awards and critical applause?
In 1963 young,astrophysics Cambridge University student Stephen Hawkins meets fellow student Jane Wilde at a party and fall in love. However Stephen is soon diagnosed with motor neuron disease and is told he has two years to live but Jane refuses to give up on him or their relationship. With Jane’s help Stephen not only manages to live beyond his life expectancy but become a world-renowned physicist.
The Theory of Everything is well made and directed but this film is really about the two lead performances. I was a bit dubious before how Eddie Redmayne was going to transform convincingly into Hawkins but he is brilliant in the role. It’s not only a physically demanding role as Redmayne contorts his body like Hawkins but he also excels at showing how the disease takes an emotional toll on Hawkins. After a while I forgot it was Redmayne in the role.
Taking nothing away from Redmayne but the person myself and others were raving about when we left the cinema was Felicty Jones as Jane Wilde. It could so easily have been written as another ‘wife of’ role that has been seen so many times in biopic like this -you know, the barely two-dimensional supporting/nagging wife of a brilliant man. However this film is as much about Jane as it is about Hawkings (perhaps not so surprising once you realise the film was based on Jane’s book Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen). Jones is superb, going from determined and loved up young girl to the exhausted wife of a brilliant but frustrating man. It may not be a showy role Jones simple dazzles on-screen and brings real empathy to her role.
Some people may find themselves wanting to know more about Hawking’s work and theories but I liked that the film focused on this amazing couple who achieved extraordinary things through their determination and love.
Rating 4/5 – a lovely British filmwith two wonderful leading performances from Jones and Redmayne