Posted by Brihony Tulloch
16. Feb, 2015
“There should be no boundaries to human endeavour. We are all different. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope.” – Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time
Every so often there comes a movie that has it all – love, laughter, tears and brilliance. The Theory of Everything is one of those films.
Based on Jane Hawking’s memoir Travelling to Infinity, it tells the story of the most brilliant and celebrated physicists of our time, Stephen Hawking. Chronicling his life from when he was a struggling PhD student at Cambridge to the progression of his illness and his theory’s on black holes and the universe as published in A Brief History of Time.
Love is definitely the overriding theme in this film. Motor Neuron Disease is a cruel and malevolent force that robs Hawking of his independence, movement and finally his speech. With very little treatment options available during the 1960’s he is originally given two years to live. But it’s his devoted wife Jane (Felicity Jones) and their love that gives Stephen hope. We see her caring for him selflessly, but not in an emotional bid to make the audience cry. They have a system, and you can’t help but love their unique little family life. Even when their marriage begins to break down towards the end of the film (as it did in real life) the audience is left with the sense of respect Jane and Stephen had for each other till the end.
Major props should be given to Eddie Redmayne who plays Stephen Hawking. Brilliant in other films such as Les Miserables (2012) and My Week with Marilyn (2011) I knew I was going to be in for a treat. But his performance really exceeded my expectations. From mastering Hawking’s speech and mannerisms, Redmayne is able to make the audience feel everything even after his character loses the ability to speak. It’s no wonder he’s been nominated for Best Actor at the 2015 Oscars.
Praise must also be given to Harry Lloyd (The Iron Lady, 2011) who plays Stephen’s lifelong best friend Brian. Although Hawking had no such friend in real life, Lloyd’s performance brings some much needed comic relief to the film, but in a way that allows Stephen to keep his dignity and independence.
Although criticised for oversimplifying Hawking’s life and gracing over his academic work, I believe The Theory of Everything to be a brilliant homage to an equally brilliant man.
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