Eddie Redmayne stars in the biopic about one of the most intelligent men who have ever lived, Stephen Hawking. But the most frustrating aspect of "The Theory of Everything" is that the story of this great man is told in the most conventional way imaginable. Director James Marsh who won his Oscar for the documentary "Man on Wire" has crafted an incredibly acted but otherwise bland piece of cinema.
Eddie Redmayne and Fecility Jones play Stephen and Jane Hawking, a couple that deal with incredible struggles, especially when Stephen's "Lou Gherig's disease" gets worse and they're family grows. The two lead performances are some of the best of the year and should expect to receive nominations, Redmayne especially who transforms in his role. The story of Hawking is an incredible one, he was given a two year life expectancy after he was diagnosed with Motor Neuron disease but went on to live another 50 years and has defied every expectation, both scientifically and personal. Redmayne certainly rises to the challenge and not only portrays the man's physical deterioration but also the scientific genius that this man is. His performance really deserved a more ambitious film surrounding it.
James Marsh did do a fantastic job of humanizing Stephen Hawking, making us remember that he did have a different life before his disease struck, I only wish we saw more of his previous life. It is undoubtedly a tough film to watch as we have to witness Hawking struggle so much with simple everyday tasks.
Around halfway through the film, the focus switches onto Jane Hawking who has to raise a family and also deal with Stephen's illness, she eventually gets some help from a Church Quire conductor who she ends up having a romantic relationship with. Felicity Jones was really the heart and soul of the film, actually bringing me close to tears in a scene where she witnesses Stephen trying to play Croquet. I would have liked to see a little more depth to her character though, after all her life was incredibly difficult yet throughout she remains a wholehearted saint.
There is an instant spark between Redmayne and Jones from the moment they lay eyes on each other, there was instant chemistry. At first glance, these two are polar opposites. Stephen is an atheist and a physicist and Jane is a devout Christian who studies Medieval Spanish Poetry. But they are equally as curious about each other. After Stephen is diagnosed with his fatal disease, he tries to withdraw himself from the relationship but Jane won't have any of it, she is with him until the bitter end. The two marry at a young age and go on to have three children. The time lapses in the film in which children and conceived and the two become slightly grayer weren't fully clear, it was never certain how many years had passed between scenes.
Jane has to make sacrifices throughout the relationship to accommodate Stephen's needs, bringing in the electric wheelchair and eventually his computerized voice which brings out some unexpected laughs in the film. His body has failed him but his mind is as sharp as ever and he still searches for the one equation that will solve the answer to everything in the universe. At times he even acknowledges the possibility of an omnipresent force which pleases his wife.
"The Theory Of Everything" is a good film elevated by its incredible performances, it would have benefited from a more ambitious direction but James Marsh has constructed a good enough film.