Reviews

‘The Theory of Everything’ Movie Review (Best Picture Nominee)

Score: 7 out of 10.

Based on the life events of Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne), The Theory of Everything (directed by James Marsh) is both a story about his life and theories and a love story between him and Jane Hawking (Felicity Jones). It primarily focuses on his relationship with Jane and how she stood by his side, doing all she could to support him and their family while Stephen struggled with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Some of the general public knows the surface of Stephen Hawking’s life story but seeing it portrayed in a narrative film gives a better understanding of what this man went through but also how much of a genius he was and how strong-willed he must have been to stay dedicated to his work when it could’ve been so easy to give up under those circumstances.

I was under the impression that this movie would focus more on Stephen Hawking as an individual and his theories on general relativity and black holes. However, after seeing the movie I discovered that it is based on Jane Hawking’s novel Traveling to Infinity which explores her marriage with Stephen, their divorce, and other aspects of their love story from her perspective. This explains why the movie is a tale of their romance and the deterioration of it as well. The way it was portrayed in the movie was done fairly well, with both actors turning in great performances and I now see why both Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones are nominated for leading roles at the Oscars this upcoming weekend. Redmayne is even considered to be one of the two favorites to win best male lead along with Michael Keaton for Birdman. I’ve seen both performances and it’s clear that each of them deserve the nomination and consideration for the win. If I had a vote it would probably go to Eddie Redmayne. That’s not a knock on Keaton but I just felt like Redmayne became a different person in Stephen Hawking. He absolutely transformed into Hawking and once the disease starts taking him over in the movie, we really see something special from Redmayne.

Although Stephen Hawking as a theoretical physicist took a back seat to his marriage in the film, it was still a major aspect in the overall story. The movie explores many of Hawkings accomplishments and failures as a theorist. First, explaining his first theory of how the universe began with an explosion of a black hole but later showing that he thought he was wrong and that there is no explanation to how the universe began, that it just is. There is a lot more science behind it and they explain in more detail in the movie but I am not qualified to speak on the scientific aspect nor do I understand it very well. However I did understand that Hawking, throughout his career, was trying to develop a mathematical equation that could explain how everything in the universe exists. This equation or “theory” is what the title of the movie is drawn from because he is ultimately searching for “The Theory of Everything”.

While the story of Stephen Hawking, both his career and family life, is fascinating and I enjoyed learning about it, the movie itself was not necessarily that great but I still liked it. It is not a bad movie and it had a lot of moments that were good but ultimately is was very slow-paced and ran a little too long for my liking. From a cinematic standpoint I could see how some people might not enjoy it but the reason I liked it overall is because I love to learn. This movie taught me a lot about Hawking and his theories, and although I do not know how factual it is compared to the true events, it was still an educational experience for me. Maybe the reason I felt disappointed in it as a movie is because it is nominated for best picture at the Oscars this year. I just recently saw the movie so I went into it thinking it was an Oscar caliber film and maybe my expectations were a little too high. I personally don’t think it should be in the best picture race but I absolutely think the performances are rightfully critically acclaimed. Ultimately, the performances were the best part of this movie and both leads do have nominations in their genders leading categories. Like I said earlier, Eddie Redmayne is one of the favorites in the lead male category and if he ends up winning, it will be rightfully earned.

If you are interested in learning about Stephen Hawking, his personal and professional life, then I do recommend watching The Theory of Everything. However, if you aren’t the type to sit through a long movie and have a low attention span then maybe this isn’t for you. Have you guys seen The Theory of Everything? If so, let me know what you thought in the comment section. If not, will you see it? Why or why not?

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