THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING
February 14th, 2015
Eddie Redmayne. Is all I have to say. Who would have thought the man we all know as the mysterious pouter in the Burberry campaigns could become almost unrecognisable and disappear into Stephen Hawking? Well he has and my god is he good. He deservedly won the Bafta for best actor and will hopefully do the same at the Oscars (although we all know how biased the American ceremony can be and Keaton is hotly tipped as a favourite - but fingers crossed).
Based on the memoirs of Stephen’s first wife Jane, the film allows us access to a side of Hawking never before seen. It is his wit and humour which really emanates through the film, which he is said to have maintained throughout his challenging life. At the forefront of the film is Jane and Stephen’s love story, within two minutes we witness their meeting and from then on they become inseparable. We meet the grinning Stephen in the early 60s at Cambridge university where he meets Jane (Felicity Jones) who immediately takes a liking to his witty self and shares his intellectual curiosity. The film takes a sudden turn after Stephen takes a fall and is diagnosed with motor neurone disease, given only two years to live. In an emotional scene where Stephen attempts to distance himself from Jane due to the troubles that lay ahead, we see the first signs of this powerful and defiant woman who will not let a thing stand between her and Stephen.
Both Stephen and Jane go on to fight the disease together. They have a family of three, Stephen continues with his thesis and Jane returns to complete her masters she gave up initially whilst caring for Stephen. This film not only sheds light on the struggles of Hawking, but on his wife who devoted 30 years to caring for him until their divorce in 1995. Jones gives a flawless performance as Jane, whose strength of character props up Stephen through his times of self doubt and weakness. Jones was even said to have had to bulk up physically for the role as Jane was responsible for carrying Stephen in and out of his mobility chair.
But this film really does belong to Redmayne. He is so convincing both physically and through his expressions that you have to double take at times to check it’s not Hawking. With the majority of his performance being mute we rely on his subtle facial expressions to illustrate his feelings and he does so with such poignancy that you often forget he is acting. This film is by no means a walk in the park. It is an emotional rollercoaster, so be prepared and take some Kleenex with you! It is a must-see, purely for Redmayne’s performance and to gain some insight into the challenging life of this incredible man and the woman behind him.