I finally got to the theater to see the Oscar nominated film The Theory of Everything. It tells the story of Stephen and Jane Hawking’s marriage and life together.
They meet before Stephen’s ALS diagnosis and everything is shot through sepia tones with dew filled lighting, very picturesque. (That technique is called upon far too often in the movie…). I wish they had let us know why Jane falls in love with Stephen. She just says kind of out of the blue that she is in love with him but I would have liked to have gotten more into her heart.
Then the film chronicles his diagnosis, their marriage, his progress on The Brief History of Time and his physics theories. They do a good job making the theories accessible and easy enough for the viewer to understand. You might not really get them but enough to see why they are so important. (I mean it is black holes after all!). There is also a continuing theme of Stephen’s atheism conflicting with his theories which was interesting.
There is an extended section where Jane meets a choir director named Jonathan and that was a snoozefest. I never felt like I got to know Jane well enough. I found myself anxious in her sections to get on to Stephen because more concrete things were happening to him and the performance by Eddie Redmayne is very good. Felicity Jones is just ok but the script doesn’t give her a ton to work with.
The movie also has constant twirling which I guess was supposed to mimic the universe but got annoying after a while (seriously even the coffee twirls).
My feelings at the end of the movie is- it is fine. It’s a perfectly standard adequate satisfying biopic about a very unique man. I found myself getting anxious for the story to move along and all the dew filled picturesque cinematography got on my nerves. It kept the two main characters at a distance. I rarely felt I got in their hearts or who they really were.
But I still enjoyed it. It’s competently made and a good story. I liked it. I just didn’t LOVE it. It’s such an interesting life that it may work almost in spite of itself.
I liked they didn’t try to give it more of a perfect ending than was deserved. From what I understand they stuck to real life events pretty well.
I couldn’t help but think of A Beautiful Mind while watching A Theory of Everything. Both are shot with a similar style about women married to geniuses who become ill. I think A Beautiful Mind is better because it gets a little more into both characters heads and I liked the twist (and the script is tighter). But they are very similar.
So if you liked Beautiful Mind than you will probably enjoy A Theory of Everything. I’m certainly glad I saw it. It’s always great to watch stories of people who defy the odds and do incredible things. A Theory of Everything gives us such a story and I enjoyed it even if I didn’t think it was spectacular. I was inspired by the events of the movie more than the movie itself.
This would be a good movie to watch on a Sunday when you are looking to be inspired and it would certainly be a good way to introduce students to Hawking’s life and ideas. Like I said it doesn’t reinvent the wheel but I liked it.
As far as content there is hints of affairs but it is kept very PG and a brief but very tame penthouse magazine. Maybe a little language and a scene where a trachea is installed that was tough to watch.
Overall Grade- B-
Content Grade- A
10 thoughts on “Theory of Everything: A Review”
Do you feel that Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones were deserving of their Oscar nominations?
Have you seen the 2004 BBC TV film, ‘Hawking’ with Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Hawking?
I haven’t seen the Cumberbatch movie but want to.
As far as Oscars go I think Redmayne is worthy but not Jones but I would have picked Aoyello in Selma. That was a much better performance as MLK than anything here.
This movie practically screams Oscar bait and it is good but kind of standard.
Redmayne does a great job capturing the disability. You forget he’s not actually Hawking in moments. So he’s good. I just wish the movie had been less conventional but it’s still good and worth a watch
Jones and Redmayne are good and in all honesty, they deserved something of a better movie to work with. Good review.
Thank you and I totally agree