The Theory of Everything
Based on the memoir "Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen" by Hawking's first wife Jane, the film explores their early days together, Stephen's success in the world of psychics, the diagnosis of his motor neurone disease and the effect this has on his life and his family. The early scenes depict the charismatic, young professor and his blossoming relationship with Jane. It is beautifully and thoughtfully shot, and the two leads have wonderful chemistry throughout. Many will not have seen how Stephen looked in his college days and Redmayne clearly nails it, as Hawking himself said that at some points he felt he was watching himself. The warmth and harmony of the first quarter of the film (accentuated by the soft tint of the camera) is shattered by the news of his motor neurone disease. Your heart sinks as he is told he has two years to live. This is the pivotal moment, the turning point that represents Redmayne's extraordinary transformation into an incredible physical actor. Eventually confined to a wheelchair, Hawking's continues to break new ground in the scientific world. However, Stephen's disability is taking its toll on his wife, who seeks to complete her own PHD and for their children to have an ordinary upbringing.
Redmayne goes above and beyond
in this revelatory role, showing his true talent. He is utterly convincing and breathes new life into every line. Whether he is youthful and charming or wheelchair-bound but defying death, he steals every scene and captures the true essence of what separates this film from the rest. He was fantastically dedicated to the role, training for four months with a dancer teaching him how to control his body and meeting ALS patients. It shows. Felicity Jones also shines as Jane, innocent and curious at first and caring and patient throughout. She also does well to show the tiredness and stress of caring for Stephen without ever losing that charming character. Their chemistry is a great highlight of the film, instantly lighting the blue touch paper as soon as they first meet. The writing is slick and realistic, while always leaving much to be interpreted rather than simply stated by the characters.
One of the standout British films of the last year and an excellent biopic. Redmayne proves his worth, just as Carell did with Foxcatcher. An emotional journey filled with warmth, heartache and triumph, it really does do justice to Hawking's genius. A must see.