There’s a rich wonder to the expansive and limitless workings of the universe, the unknown often frightening to us, or leaving us awestruck by its possibilities. Within the human condition itself, there is also such wonder to behold. This is that core conflict that makes up The Theory of Everything, a detailing of the history behind the brilliant Stephen Hawking.
The life of Hawking is nothing short of extraordinary, fighting for his life when it seemed he had all odds stacked against him, but to this day is an inspiration for his teachings and findings, and while The Theory of Everything is a film that doesn’t break new ground, it’s no less of a stellar portrait than the man deserves.
The Theory of Everything doesn’t offer too much in the way of innovation, indeed playing it safe in areas, and perhaps running overlong and taking influence from better biopic films. However, sometimes all you really need is great execution, and that’s precisely what the film does. The film is absolutely earnest and captivating in its intentions and director James Marsh treats the film with such an underlain sense of sensitivity, and wonder in itself, with Benoit Delhomme’s photography emulating the colorful imagery of a kaleidoscope, and Johan Johansson providing a beautiful, classically based score to compliment the emotions of the film.
What ultimately makes The Theory of Everything work is the pairing of our two lead actors. Eddie Redmayne is terrific as Hawking, losing himself in a transformative and physically demanding performance that balances hope and helplessness in equal measure. Even better here is Felicity Jones as his wife, Jane, worn down and helpless on her own in helping Stephen to cope. She often manages to find a way to keep pressing forward out of love and dedication, but there’s such a quiet, but powerful and understandable need for her to have support given to her in this crisis.
There’s a surprisingly underlain fear of the uknown to their situation as well, the understandable fear of your own body betraying you and limiting your life experiences, as well as experiencing someone dearest to you suffer from this, knowing full well that this is beyond the control of either of you. Stephen wants to acknowledge his family as normal, when that sadly isn’t the case. However, there’s such an inspiration to coping with limitations, and pressing forward even when everything indicates the worst possible scenario, and there’s such an unabashed and enchanting charm to how The Theory of Everything conveys all of this, and more.
“Look what we made”, indeed.
**** / *****