<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by James Marsh. Starring Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, David Thewlis, Emily Watson, Charlie Cox, Simon McBurney, Maxine Peake, Harry Lloyd
With so many biographical movies coming out not all of them get it right. The Theory of Everything leaves you warmly satisfied that you have at least seen the essence of the life of an icon of modern times.
Most of us know that Stephen Hawking is a brilliant scientific mind who wrote a book called A Brief History of Time and who we recognise from his contorted form in an electric wheelchair and robotic voice. There’s also that tawdry bit of news in the back of our heads that he left his wife and shacked up with his nurse. For a clearer picture of his life and what it was life for his wife who fell in love with him in college, Jane Hawking wrote a book, which has been adapted into The Theory of Everything.
A geeky romance between Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) and Jane (Felicity Jones) turns into a tale of struggle and challenges very early in the movie. Hawking, a brilliant physicist at Cambridge, develops motor neuron disease, which leaves his body slowly but steadily wasting away. Jane’s determination to see their love through makes her his strongest ally in what they believe will be a two-year struggle before he dies of the disease. But love conquers all and Hawking weathers several years and sires three children with Jane.
The Theory of Everything is a moving portrayal of a genius who is also a bit of a child. It also gives us a wonderful perspective of how Jane, a wide-eyed and bubbly girl turns into a strong and able woman who realises that her husband’s mind must be safeguarded and kept alive so the world will know his true brilliance. Unfortunately, in the process she loses a part of herself. Until of course she meets a man named Jonathan (Charlie Cox) who helps take care of Stephen and becomes part of the family. Well upto the point the families start talking about infidelity!
Eddie Redmayne goes from a charming nerd to a contorted shell of a man who still retains his mind and humour effortlessly. His wicked smirk and shimmering eyes convey ever so much. And Felicity Jones’s subdued strength gives you a sense of how it was for this woman to sacrifice so much for a man she admired and loved. Hawking’s liking for another woman (Maxine Peake) who comes to help is also dealt with nicely and never really causes any tension, which may seem a bit jarring to some.
The Theory of Everything managed to bring tears to my eyes and I do believe the film’s stars deserve their Oscar noms since the film is far less pretentious than the overhyped American Sniper.