The Theory of Everything: Film Review

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I will be so bummed if Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones don’t receive any awards for this. The dedication he put in to achieving the physicality of Professor Stephen Hawking is worthy of an Oscar. Such a commitment. Jones is also deserving – her portrayal of his first wife Jane is so emotional and you can see the toll being a carer for her husband has taken.

The film follows Hawking as he meets Jane while studying for a doctorate at Cambridge University. He is diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND, or Lou Gehrig’s disease) shortly after they begin dating and while he wants to shut her out, Jane convinces him they should be together. We follow their lives through their wedding, the births of their children and Hawking’s physical deterioration. The film is mainly told through Jane’s eyes and we watch her struggle with raising three children and caring for her husband, who loses his speech after a battle with pneumonia. She begins to develop feelings for family friend Jonathan, while Hawking gets close to his carer Elaine (Maxine Peake).

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I almost cried at the trailer so I knew I was going to be emotional, but I was not prepared for how much of a wreck I would end up. I began crying about 30 minutes in and teared up again at regular intervals. In the beginning, I was upset for Stephen as I could not comprehend my body failing me and not being able to do simple things like picking up a knife and fork. I gradually become more involved with Jane’s story and cried for her because she was living with such a burden and was so overwhelmed, but she loved him so much that she kept battling on.

Eddie is perfect. He looks like Hawking and he captures the wit and cheekiness Hawking had in the face of his problems. Watching him struggle to walk in the beginning is impressive but later when he can barely speak, you are just in awe. However, Jones must have been so emotionally drained after shooting because she gives her all.

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The performances are the thing but I did have a couple of niggles about Stephen’s relationship with Elaine. His carer Elaine Mason eventually becomes his second wife, but I only learned that from the Internet afterwards as it wasn’t immediately clear. It is also hard to tell how much time has passed because no time stamps are used, and yes, that could detract from the story but it would have been helpful too. They did not make much of an effort to age Jane and Stephen periodically. They were married for 25 years, and the movie covers all that, but they certainly don’t look much older. In the final scene, I could see a few wrinkles added but that was it.

The story is so powerful and I like that it was told from the female perspective, that Jane was strong and they are equals in this story. I liked the mix of humour and sadness. I loved the bittersweet ending, but we have liked Elaine’s arc to have been clearer. The performances are incredible, so it should be seen just for that but also I think people should know Stephen’s story and what he managed to achieve against such odds and what the woman behind him was like. Awards all round please!

 

Released 1st January 

SEE ALSO: Felicity Jones talking about researching the role

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  1. […] (MND, or Lou Gehrig’s disease). It is so emotional. I cried throughout. Check out my review here. Released 1st […]

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