February 25, 2015
"The Theory of Everything" traces the story of acclaimed physicist Stephen Hawking from his days in Cambridge, during which he met his first love, Jane Wilding, and his worst nemesis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. This film follows their love story through the challenges of ALS, marriage and children, scientific renown, all the way to an unexpected conclusion.
This biopic was done very well with excellent nostalgic cinematography, meticulous period production design, and a wonderfully emotional musical score. The story is told in an engaging manner, effectively bringing the audience along on an inspiring love story that withstood the storms until it could not. People who go in to know more about Hawking as a scientist may feel shortchanged, because unfortunately, his science is not really the main focus here. Because the love story took precedent over the science though, it may feel a bit generic at certain points.
The centerpiece of this film though is the resplendent transformation of actor Eddie Redmayne into Stephen Hawking. Redmayne was positively vibrant in the scenes showing the halcyon days of Hawking's youth, meeting the beautiful girl of his dreams. As the scenes turned to the slow deterioration of his body secondary to the motor neuron disease, Redmayne shows us the physical ordeal Hawking suffered. He nailed every smallest wobble and tremor.with clinical precision and heart-rending realism. Hawking's emotional journey was likewise well portrayed with an acting so deeply internalized. It felt like we were watching Hawking himself. This role of a lifetime got a performance of a lifetime from Eddie Redmayne, and for that reason, he is the clear winner in the Oscar race for lead actor.
"The Theory of Everything" is a beautiful looking film with a heartwarming inspirational subject matter. It is just too bad that real life did not give this film the happy ending we all wanted it to have. Felicity Jones as Jane was very good, as were the other supporting actors in the cast. However, this film is clearly Eddie Redmayne's showcase. This film is nominated for five Oscar awards, including Best Picture, Actor and Actress, Adapted Screenplay and Musical Score. The Musical Score award seems to be in the bag, together with Redmayne's for Best Actor. 7/10.