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Film Review: The Theory of Everything

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Here is a film that is so well crafted, acted and lovingly put together you are willing to overlook its various flaws.

Man on Wire director James Marsh makes the life of Stephen Hawking a riveting and cinematic one, told throw the tricky prism of his marriage to Jane. The film is actually more harder-edged emotionally than one would expect, with screenwriter Anthony McCarten intelligently condensing down Jane Hawking’s revealing memoir upon which the film is based so as to bring many of the important events in the couple’s life to screen with clarity and intensity.

As a result of the shift towards the domestic, the main downside is the sacrificing of the science, which does become a little obvious and is characterised by a cluster of lecture scenes and eureka moments. Even so, this aims to be a love story rather than an indepth discussion about the beginnings of the universe, and on that count it succeeds.

Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones give performances that are wise beyond their years and more accomplished than anything they have achieved previously (which is a lot; take a look at their IMDB pages). By coincidence Redmayne’s old friend Benedict Cumberbatch has also played the role of Hawking (in an equally good film by Philip Martin for BBC Two), and it’s fascinating how very different their performances are whilst still remaining faithful to the man himself.

This is a beautiful film about, first and foremost, love and compromise. Whoever you are, whatever genius discoveries you make or people you impress, the trials and joys of life will still be far more complex for anyone to truly decipher. This film may not perfectly show the genius of the man, but it does show the life that went on surrounding his genius. For many cinemagoers I imagine this story will just as riveting.

The Theory of Everything (2014) is released in UK cinemas by Universal Pictures, Certificate 12A. Watch the trailer below:


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