Film Review – The Theory of Everything (2014)

Theory - post

Title – The Theory of Everything (2014)

Director – James Marsh (Project Nim)

Cast – Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, David Thewlis, Emily Watson, Harry Lloyd, Charlie Cox

Plot – A look at the life and love of Professor Stephen Hawking (Redmayne) and his wife Jane (Jones) and their battle with Stephens’s life threatening disability along with his intense delving into the universe.

 “While there’s life, there is hope”

Review by Eddie on 9/02/2015

It’s surprising that it’s taken such a long time for a high profile cinematic version of the life and times of famed author/scientist/mathematician Stephen Hawking to be made into a feature film and thankfully the end product is a very fine telling of an aspect of Hawking’s life that many would’ve never even considered, that of his relationship with his once long serving wife Jane. Under the assured hands of Man on Wire documentarian turned feature director James Marsh, The Theory of Everything (based on Jane Hawking’s autobiography) is a fine film without being a must see one.

The recipient of 5 Oscar nominations it’s not hard to see why Theory has been such a success with Academy voters. From the films well designed pallet, two fantastic lead turns with a career defining one from Eddie Redmayne as Hawking and with a lovely original score from Johann Johannsson, Theory screams quality in a productions sense yet can’t quite overcome it’s at basis nature the feeling of a TV movie of the week production. There is nothing overly grand on display here and those looking to get an insight into the mind of man far above normal intelligence despite his psychical inhibitions should look elsewhere, as while the works of Hawking play apart here the focus remains largely on the trials and tribulations of Stephen and Jane’s marriage and the strain that was heaped upon them both in many aspects from the horrible onset of ALS.

James Marsh succeeds greatly in his treatment of Hawking’s dealings with this inhumane disease and not once does any situation that Hawking faces with his body failing feel over the top or played for pity votes and that is largely due also to the films constrained and respectful lead performances from two of the industry’s most impressive young talents.

In a role that has rightfully seen him nominated in most major award ceremonies around the world Redmayne is near unrecognisable as Hawking and displays a finely tuned acting power to be able to disappear into a man we are all so well accustomed to seeing, so much so that you begin to forget this is in fact not Hawking himself. In a less noticeable but no less powerful role Felicity Jones has gone on with the strength of acting shown in lesser known films and come full circle with a matured and naturalistic turn as Jane. Jane is the one we come out of the movie feeling most for and that is in no short way due to Jones’s believable and commanding turn. Stephen and Jane’s love story is one that can become quite awkward and at times utterly inspiring and these two performers nail it completely.

The Theory of Everything is a very watchable and at times moving experience but perhaps its greatest failings is that it’s a film we knew we were seeing before we had in fact seen it. Nothing much occurs here that we can’t have predicted, situations play out like the rule book set before it and everything feels a little to “nice” in a way that surely can’t have been the case in real life. A very interesting look into the life of a man we may never have thought of as one of us and with two great lead turns, this is a movie well worth your time but I’d suspect its appearance in this year’s Oscars will be an unfruitful one despite its award worthy lead turns.

3 and a half magazine subscriptions out of 5

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30 responses to “Film Review – The Theory of Everything (2014)

  1. Very well said Eddie. I felt like I was being harsh in my review but I’m seeing more and more people echo what I was thinking, so that makes me feel a bit better. Good point about Redmayne’s performance not being played up for sympathy votes, either.

    • Cheers man. It’s funny this film, it’s all very nice and some great production values but doesn’t feel like it’s something that will be remembered very fondly in a few years, perhaps just not enough to stand out from a long line of biopics.
      E

  2. I haven’t seen this film yet because I am not generally a fan of biopics. I find them episodic and frequently lacking structure. I prefer films that take one key moment or experience in a person’s life and make that the subject of the film.
    Still, I may see it when it comes out on video.

    • Well worth a look Emma but no need to rush. It is very much a biopic by the numbers that doesn’t do anything extraordinary despite it’s incredible real life elements at hand.
      E

  3. I agree with you. Redmayne did a fantastic job, but apart from that it only just managed to keep my interest.

    • Funny isn’t it mate, something this out of the blue really should of just had you from the get go but at times I couldn’t help but look at my watch. Redmayne looks like he could challenge Keaton at the Oscars though, he has some wins behind him.
      E

  4. Hey! great post- I think the challenge with any movie like this one is that we do really know the ending so there are little surprises but I was still impressed with the performances 🙂

    • They were really great weren’t they? I have always been a massive fan of Jones and I remember Redmayne from one of his first roles in Like Minds and his always been someone I felt could become a real star. I certainly enjoyed this movie but it has not stuck with me in any way shape or form.
      E

  5. I have a huge problem with watching biogs for the reason you state last. Probably the only one I can remember that I was with OK with the Francis Bacon film – maybe because it was also a portrayal of something more subversive. I saw the trailer for this and the acting looked amazing, but for that reason I know it would just be a huge emotional wringer, and there are films I’d rather watch.

    • The trailer really does show the films best bits as well, I was actually half expecting it to take on some paths I didn’t see coming but yeh sadly this was all very as per usual.
      E

  6. Did you watch the Turing film? Someone recommended it to me, but I didn’t watch for same reason as this one. Just wondered if there was anything extra/twisty to lift it above.

  7. Ah, I saw this recently and I absolutely adored it, shortcomings and all! I know it didn’t bring anything new to the table, but it was very well put together, and the performances were fantastic!

  8. Pingback: Halloween Special – Black Death (2010): A Look at An Underrated Gem | Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys)·

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