The Theory of Everything Review
Time is infinite. Space is infinite. Hollywood’s insatiable appetite for biopics is infinite. As the universe continues to expand, studios fill those spare gaps with films like The Theory of Everything. That’s hardly a revelation, and neither is The Theory of Everything – the story of Stephen Hawking has already been calculatedly brought to screens twice in the past decade via fiction Hawking and so-so doc Hawking (can’t really argue with the name). However, James Marsh delivers a worthy adaptation that chalks up the complicated emotional equations faced by Hawking and his wife, without sinking into the dull fact-heavy exposition present in The Imitation Game.The obvious talking point is Eddie Redmayne, whose adept portrayal of Stephen Hawking begins with the scientist as an energetic Cambridge undergraduate who loves cycling, chess, and a literature student called Jane Wilde – essentially, he’s a typical teen with hints of being ahead of the curve when it comes to university assignments. As his body slowly succumbs to motor neurone disease, Redmayne’s acting versatility is on show: not only physically, but mentally he conveys the existential anguish of having a doctor predict death will come in under two years’ time. Like The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, it’s up to the eyes to be the windows into a soulfully overused phrase – this is a story worth telling.But unlike The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, the story actually belongs to the woman by his side. After an unfortunate series of roles in dirge such as Chalet Girl and Like Crazy, Felicity Jones earns any forthcoming awards nominations with a poignant balancing act: under the shadow of Stephen’s fame and physical requirements, Jane couldn’t have predicted the number of sacrifices she’d be making when being chatted up by a geeky undergraduate at a party. As a firm believer in God, Jane is already at war with “The Theory”, and is plundered with the unspoken dilemma: would she be considered a monster for divorcing a disabled man? While at the same time, Stephen is pressured into staying with the woman who stayed loyal throughout his endeavours, even as the pair find their eyes drift towards potential partners.Aside from a few lines about crisp packets in the pub – “the big crunch!” – the film knows better than to dumb down the science for a wide audience. Instead, there’s a fascinatingly slow disintegration of a relationship orbiting away from each other. At first, Jane intimately feeds and dresses Stephen; by the end, he’s touring America with a nurse, while she’s organising camping trips with a fellow churchgoer. Really, it’s a brief history of time spent being married to a scientist in love preoccupied with his own discoveries.