The Theory of Everything (2014) Is Not a Science Movie At All [Review]

The Theory of Everything looks into the life, marriage, and turbulence of Stephen Hawking and his first wife, Jane Wild Hawking. The movie begins with Stephen as a young student in Cambridge where he met Jane at a party. The romance blooms quickly, as in love at first sight cases, until Stephen got diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease/ALS and take a turn for the worse. In this case, Stephen thought Jane would be better off without him, but Jane thinks otherwise. The two married and even have their first child within the few years, shown in series of home videos projections. The movie then gradually settle its tone and explore the couple relationship further. We see Stephen gradually losing his ability to walk, eat and even to talk. Where else Jane, being the strong woman she is, stood beside her man and helped him along the way.

Directed by British James Marsh, the film is wonderfully narrated with only little cheese on top. Despite its heavy romance theme, writer Anthony McCarten’s script doesn’t shy away from Hawking’s scientific achievements. The widely known Black Hole theory is depict in a clever manner shown in series of scenes overlapping between Stephen’s lecture and his friend Brian’s “simplified” explanations about the theory in a pub. As any movies based on a true story, The Theory of Everything is highly dramatized to attain familiar comfort and easy narration for any movie-goers to follow who is not into Physics. Personally, I think the story telling is engaging and never dull in its 123 minutes duration. Of course if you want to nitpick and criticize the accuracy of the film (I know I did), you’d better off reading the memoir written by Jane herself: Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen.

The movie’s appeal goes hand in hand with the performance by the two leads, one who won a Golden Globes recently. Eddie Redmayne who is known in movies such as My Week With Marilyn and Les Miserables gives the most honest performance in years. We are all familiar with Hawking’s personal difficulties and Eddie’s portrayal of the physicist is uncanny. There were no moments where they felt forced or exaggerated. Like Crazy’s Felicity Jones is equally prominent as Jane Wild, who is undoubtedly a great female character and overall a great woman.

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