The Theory of Everything (12A)

Directed by James Marsh
Starring Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, David Thewlis, Emily Watson, Charlie Cox

This biopic of Professor Stephen Hawking benefits from terrific performances by Eddie Redmayne as Hawking and Felicity Jones as his wife Jane. However, it is a relatively standard biopic of a totally extraordinary man.
We begin with a young and fit Hawking as a Cambridge student meeting and falling for Jane. Unfortunately, it isn't long until the shakes start and the motor neuron disease diagnosis comes. After being given about 2 years to live, the couple decide (after a bit of Hawking sulking) to make the most of things, marry and have children. We follow them as the disease progresses, more children arrive and the strain starts to show on Jane. When she meets a widowed young choir master, Jonathan, a bond forms between them as Hawking's condition worsens and he has to start using the computer that gives him the voice that has become so well known.
The film is beautifully shot, the acting is excellent - Redmayne in particular does an amazing job, although Jones too really conveys Jane's conflicted feelings well. Her devotion to Hawking is apparent - the film is based on her book so she comes over well - which also explains why the nurse who becomes his second wife comes across far less sympathetically! The story is a remarkable one, although it avoids most of the science, mainly having Hawking say something pithy and academics declaring 'Good Lord, you've done it!' loudly! A good solid film, excellent performances (Redmayne won the Best Actor Oscar for this role) but without any real surprises. 7/10

January 2015.

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