The Theory of Everything is an incredible story about the live and trials of Stephen and Jane Hawking through their battle with Stephen’s early onset form of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and the struggles of any married couple. The film was brilliantly directed by James Marsh who also directed one of my favorite documentaries of all time in 2008’s ‘Man of Wire’.
The film begins with both Stephen and Jane in their college years at Oxford and how they began dating while Stephen’s condition first began to go downhill. Stephen’s difficulty getting along with certain professors and students is outlined throughout as sometimes it was hard for Stephen to fit in with the other students and most professors because of his advanced intelligence in the fields of mathematics, general relativity & physical cosmology. The heart of this film is his relationship with Jane who refused to leave his side despite the decline in his health.
One side of Stephen that is made very clear throughout the film is his stubbornness when it came to what he was trying to prove and disprove in his respective fields. Not every scientist out there will work decades on proving a theory and then turn right around and attempt to disprove that same theory but that is exactly what Hawking did despite the backlash from his fellow scientists and colleagues. That same personality trait put a strain on his relationship with Jane who despite her efforts, tried to understand how and why Stephen pushed himself so hard.
Stephen Hawking was portrayed in Theory of Everything by British-born actor Eddie Redmayne (remember his name, you’ll be hearing it a lot more in the future) who really brought his A-game to this film as did Felicity Jones who played Jane Hawking. Both have received Oscar nominations for their roles and rightfully so. Director James Marsh did an excellent job of keeping the focus on the relationship between Stephen and Jane and not the disease or Stephen’s work although in the final act of the film, the pace seemed to slow down a bit much but that may have been on purpose to illustrate how much work Stephen’s caregivers go through just to accomplish the simplest of tasks.
The Theory of Everything has been given the ultimate blessing by Stephen Hawking himself who called the movie ‘genuine’ and upon seeing the film, lent his own ‘voice’ to the film instead of their version of his ‘voice’. It also earned a Best Motion Picture nomination from the Academy which is alright too. If you want to see a biopic about one of the world’s greatest minds while at the same time see an incredibly wonderful & electric love story, this one is for you. I really enjoyed it.