There is nothing I can say or add about Stephen Hawking. If you do not know who he is, well, Google him. A fragile body houses a brilliant, insightful, mathematical mind. Despite his physical limitations and his mathematical genius, he is, like all of us, human.
The Theory of Everything is the story of Dr. Hawking, but it is also the story of Jane Hawking, his first wife. In fact, the film is based on a novel of the same name written by the former Mrs. Hawking. It is as much her story, from her perspective, as it is his story. The film is sort of a chick-flick with black holes in it. A king of the nerds bio-pic and love-story crushed together under the gravity of Hawking’s brilliance and his pressing ailment.
It is hard to say there is anything wrong with the film. Many things are quite right. However, there are not any brilliant moments – no surprises, shocks, or moments of great elation. As such, it is possible to think there might be some missed opportunities, but one cannot be sure. It is the story of a living legend that has not yet been colored or glorified by time. Perhaps keeping closer to the truth is the film’s shining light.
Eddie Redmayne does a fantastic job playing Hawking. His physical work in depicting the frailty of motor neuron disease, sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s disease, is stunning. Beyond displaying Hawking’s physical deterioration, he amazingly emotes through the contortions without breaking the spell. The entire cast does a wonderful job.
The direction is very good, given the earlier caveat. We cannot know what moments were missed. The soundtrack is also well done, supporting the entire work.
This is not a movie for everyone. If you require action, adventure, mystery, or pretty light shows, let this slip by. If you want some insight into Stephen Hawking, albeit tempered, and you can enjoy a love story, this is for you.
This film can be enjoyed as a rental or stream as much as it can be in the theater. Given that it is an indie film with extremely limited circulation, streaming may be the best option.
Worth seeing, given all previous caveats.