Working Title Films has outdone itself in producing the biographical romantic drama The Theory of Everything, which deals with the life of one of the greatest minds of our time – Stephen Hawking.
Nerdy Stephen (Eddie Redmayne) is studying astrophysics at Cambridge when he falls in love with Jane (Felicity Jones). In an ugly turn of events, he is diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and is given only two years to live, during which time his motor functions and speech will slow to a stand-still. He tries to get away from Jane but she is resolute that she will stick by him. What follows is their story as they come to grips with an extraordinary kind of family life whilst Stephen, defying the odds, continues his pursuit of cosmology. With many bumps along the way, as well as ‘help’ from Jonathan and Elaine, what will be the outcome of this match?
Redmayne is perfect, even in presenting the collapse of Hawking’s body into paralysis. Truly, he deserves to win this year’s Academy Award for Best Actor! Meanwhile Jones, also on the list to win an Oscar, is amazing with her facial expressions, at times telling so much even with her silences. Charlie Cox in his role as Jonathan completes the love-triangle well.
Hawking has lived a complex life full of meaningful events. Condensing it all into a two-hour film is a feat but Director James Marsh pulls it off marvellously.
Cinematography and editing are put to good use in presenting this story. Sometimes, the vision takes on a dreamy blur, one scene is shot in monochromatic blue and even a children’s safety gate becomes a prop in an allusion to prison bars. One shot singles out the immobile form of Stephen before moving off to show Jane and Jonathan with the children, as if to indicate that Jonathan might take his place. The final sequence is made through a backward flashing of snapshots important to Stephen’s life, back to the beginning of his relationship with Jane.
The music is heavenly and makes the experience more intense. It plays on the mind with its crescendos and well-timed moods, alternating between romantic and dramatic as necessary.
With a love that is pivotal to the real-life story, I was sceptical as to whether the production would present Hawking’s life in all its different facets. Was the romance going to take over the plot for commercial interest’s sake? I should never have worried. This is one film that documents the life in all its significant details and which is historically accurate most of the time, as stated by Hawking himself.
The Theory of Everything is a KRS release and will be shown in local cinemas.