The film sets in 1963 in England. Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) studies cosmology at the famous Cambridge University and is determined to find “a simple and eloquent explanation” to the universe’s origin. His world is blown open when he falls madly in love with Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones), a Cambridge College of Art student. However, shortly after turning 21, he receives a terrible blow: he is diagnosed with a motor neuron disorder that will paralyze his legs and arms and affect his senses, limiting his ability to speak and move. And worse, they give him two years to live.
Thanks to their love for each other and Jane’s self-determination and support, the couple move on and end up getting married. With his wife willing to fight by his side, Stephen refuses to accept the diagnosis. Jane encourages him to finish his Ph.D., which contains his initial theory of the creation of the universe. After having his first child and already with a doctorate, Stephen launches himself to study time, which he can’t count on. As his physical limitations grow, his mind expands and continues to explore the furthest extremes of theoretical physics. Together, Jane and Stephen face the impossible, breaking new ground in medicine and science, reaching unexpected limits.
The film is based on the book “Traveling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen,” Jane Hawking’s memoirs. It is based on the true story of Stephen Hawking and his relationship with his wife, Jane Wilde, the art student he fell in love with while studying at Cambridge in the 1960s.
The story delivers strong moments, like the constant fight against the disease, without entering into sentimentality that would stimulate a simple pity. This achievement is quite incredible; it is a magnificent story that knows how to capture every moment in its depth. Also, Stephen’s humor, here and there, gives us a smile when we lose all hope.
The Theory of Everything includes feelings and ideas: science and love, atheism and faith, cosmology and art. It can be sad without leaving us in tears. It is also a mocking movie with good humor. It is biographical (biopic) without being afraid of emotions. In general, it is a well-interpreted story.
The rhythm of the film is linear without major ups and downs or twists that change the rhythm, making a classic approach to the biopic. It is an accurate movie within its simplicity. However, it is not what we expected because it focuses too much on the romantic relationship of the scientist. We would have wanted to see more of his scientific career and the thresholds he went through.
The dialogues and the actions with which the main characters express their emotions make the movie very natural. Keeping his desire burning, as the story progresses over the years, Hawking faces the adversity of his immobility while his mind flys through the universe. The helplessness of his own tragedy is the essence of the script. He departs from the biographical and romantic genre conventions to approach human nature paradigms; commitment, tragedy, guilt…
Characters and acting
The performances are admirable and indeed remarkable. As the protagonist Eddie Redmayne is masterful, creating a vast and credible interpretation which justifies his Acamedy Award for best performance in a leading role. Stephen Hawking undergoes a physical metamorphosis and a psychological evolution throughout the film, which is shown very well by the actor with apparent nuances. The actor’s every blink, every tear, every stammer, every hint of a smile is accurate and remarkable. It is noticeable that he was preparing the role, living with ALS patients for a time. He depicts many scenes with which most physically disabled can feel identified.
Felicity Jones is deep and very natural in her character, portraying Stephen’s wife excellently. Jones uses the most human emotions to successfully portray the wife who sacrifices everything for her love. The actress supports her character’s emotions, allowing them to explode in brutal sequences charged with emotion. Redmayne and Jones’s brilliant chemistry drives the film’s plot with rigorous performances. The accompany of Charlie Cox, David Thewlis, Emily Watson, and Simon McBurney are also pretty convincing.
Music and cinematography
The photography is nostalgic and very well designed, effectively transporting the viewer to each period shown. The warm orange and red colors go fabulously well with the ice blue contrast. The shots and camera movements display correct technical work, monitoring personal details closely. Later, handheld shots excellently show the protagonist’s impotence against his advancing illness. The director, James Marsh, created a movie with a leisurely pace and with a deep, credible style.
The music by Johann Johannsson is intriguing and stimulates audiences with varied sounds ranging from hypnotic and emotional depending on the action. The soundtrack is warm, romantic, and melodic; it cleverly combines instrumental layers with orchestral blends.
The Theory of Everything is an extraordinary and inspiring story about one of the most brilliant contemporary minds: the famous astrophysicist Stephen Hawking and his wife, two capable people who overcome the worst adversities thanks to their love for each other. It is a simple but true melodramatic story with 5 Oscar nominations and the winner in the best actor category. This romantic biopic is definitely well worth watching!