Of all the movies I’ve seen and caught up on in the last six months, I’m pretty sure that The Theory of Everything is my favorite.
Theory is about the story of Stephen Hawking and his wife Jane. It depicts their relationship and their marriage through the lens of his cosmological breakthroughs and the decline of his health. Struck by motor neuron disease (commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) at age twenty-three, Hawking was given just two years to live. However, he has survived and thrived for another half century, gone on to publish invaluable works such as The Brief History of Time, and lecture physics students around the world on his theories. As shown in the film, this is due in large part to the care of his wife, their friends, and also arguably sheer force of will.
*GENERAL SPOILERS TO FOLLOW*
And now for my review, such that it is. I honestly don’t have much to say about it that hasn’t already been said by critics more knowledgeable then myself or that couldn’t be said eloquently enough in a few short paragraphs.
To put it simply, everything about this film was beautiful. Its honesty in depicting the harsh realities of Jane and Stephen’s relationship, the hauntingly beautiful musical score, and the earnest acting to the two main leads, Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, all brought tears to my eyes and highlighted a story which is startlingly accurate.
Given their separation, the leads’ two accounts of the same events could have been shown to oppose one another. However the movie did an astonishingly good job of maintaining balance, putting neither character at fault for the events which came to pass. It simply showed their relationship as it evolved over time, how it surpassed (and also didn’t) some of the hurdles that were thrown in front of it. This of course included Stephen’s disease, Jane’s scholarly pursuits, their disparate religious beliefs, and emotional infidelity on both their parts.
Surrounding all of that was of course Hawking’s work. The movie shows him as a stand out student, as one who’s mind was always spinning with new ideas despite a lazy work ethic. From that origin he went on to develop the theories that he’s become famous for, the ones that have gained him notoriety in the academic community despite his illness, an illness which, thankfully, has no effect on his mental health or ability to think.
How sad is it that brilliant minds are often trapped by the body’s own inability to function normally, that thoughts get snuffed out or hidden away by an inside force holding them hostage? The available medical and computer technology evolved throughout the movie, as it did in history; their contribution to Hawking’s work is shown to be an invaluable asset. Without the assistance of computers, he would never have been able to communicate his research.
Overall I thought this movie was brilliant. Go see it.