The theory of everything

The theory of everything is a biopic about renown theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and his first wife Jane. Before they married, Hawking was diagnosed with motor neuron disease. He was 21 years old. This meant his muscles would progressively lose their strengths, and the doctors predicted he would die within two years. This was 1964 and he still alive at the age of 72. As shown in the film, what prevented Hawking from giving up and fall into a deep depression, was his engagement with Jane. She vowed to help and support him. They were married 25 years, during which they had three kids. Although earlier in The theory of everything, there is more about Hawking’s scientific work, the film soon becomes about the difficulties Stephen and Jane faced in their daily lives, with Hawking’s health declining and having to renovate the house to meet Stephen’s needs, and get new wheelchairs and equipment. He lost his ability to talk in 1985, after a near fatal bout with pneumonia that forced the doctors to do a tracheotomy. He now communicates through the speech-generating device he uses for conferences and other appearances (he made cameos on films and TV shows like Star trek: The next generation, The Simpsons, and, of course, The big bang theory using the computerized voice from his device. Hawking lend his voice to the filmmakers of The theory of everything). Also, we witness Jane’s affair with future husband Jonathan Jones in 1977, and Hawking’s meeting and falling in love with his nurse Elaine Mason. Anthony McCarten adapted Jane’s autobiography, and with such a screenplay it is easy for director James Marsh to succeed. It’s a bit like painting by numbers : You can’t really hit a wrong note. There will be no complaints from me about the two leads, Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones. As Jane Hawking, Jones has the less showy of the two parts, but it is because of her subtleties that the film doesn’t become a mawkish, corny melodrama. Eddie Redmayne had the task of showing the young and healthy Hawking at the beginning of the film, and his gradual physical deterioration as the disease progress. The resemblance between Redmayne and Hawking makes Redmayne the perfect actor for the part. As well I should mention Benoît Delhomme’s luminous cinematography. But I think it would have been a better film, if we found out more about this brilliant man’s achievements and what he brought to the world of science. I know that the idea behind film was to put a human face on one of the greatest mind, but as it is now, it feels like a manipulative tear-jerker.

And the Oscar went to… Apart from receiving a Best picture nomination, both Redmayne and Jones were nominated for Actor and Actress. The theory of everything got two other nods: Adapted screenplay and Jóhann Jóhannsson for his Original score. And as expected Redmayne went home with the Oscar.

Rémi-Serge Gratton

 

  The theory of everything

 

 Directed by: 

James Marsh
 
Screenplay by: 
Anthony McCarten
Based on Travelling To Infinity:
My Life With Stephen by Jane Hawking
 
Starring: 
Eddie Redmayne
Felicity Jones
Charlie Cox
Emily Watson
Maxine Peake
David Thewlis
 
123 min.

 

 

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