Never have I written a review of a film, so shortly after finishing watching it. Never have I felt the need to express my opinion on such a subject, with such conviction, that I was already working out my ending statements before the film itself had actually finished. Never before have I been so sure that my review, no matter how I proceed from this point forth, would fail to complete convey how I feel towards the subject matter.
The Theory Of Everything is the 2014 romantic biopic of the life of Professor Stephen Hawking, from 1963, shortly before he was diagnosed with motor neuron disease, through his life with now-ex-wife, Jane Wilde Hawking, up to when he met the Queen of England.
I have a habit of spoiling the movie whilst reviewing it, and for once, I shall endeavour to avoid it any more than has already been achieved. Suffice it to say, I believe that the plot has been executed perfectly – it is relatively concise, showing approximately 30-50 years of a family’s life, in a little over two hours. We see Stephen grow from a nervous university student, into an accomplished scientist who has managed to, at the moment, live for 50 years longer than had been predicted. We witness not only his sheer determination to discover the so-called Theory Of Everything, but also to survive, despite the loss of even the most basic human activities at the hands of his illness.
There is not, so far as I can recall, a single moment that was surplus to requirement. It was all essential, and it was all superb, from minute one to minute 121. The director, James Marsh, should be extremely proud of the film he has managed to create.
But, of course, the work of the cast must not be forgotten! Eddie Redmayne portrays Prof. Hawking with as much honour, respect and brilliance as anyone could have possibly desired. I have not seen the other actors up for the award, but I truly believe that the only way that Mr. Redmayne could walk away from this year’s Oscar ceremony without the Best Actor award would be if the event was rigged.
The supporting cast contains a few notable names and faced (more the faced for me, sadly), particularly of Harry Lloyd – who most of you may recognise from his role is the first series of Game of Thrones, as well as a short stint in Doctor Who (the ones with the scare-crows…) – and of David Thewlis, who you will most likely recognise from his role as Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter films. Additionally, Charlie Cox, who you may recognise from the role of Tristan in Stardust – I knew I recognised him, but sadly, I couldn’t place him until I investigated further. These rest of the cast though, I do not feel could have a bad word said about them.
I shall not comment on the soundtrack, mostly because I didn’t really notice it, which, as some of our more frequent readers may know, is the sign of a truly great soundtrack. That is all.
Finally, the highlights. The Theory Of Everything is a wonderful film, but that does not mean that there are not moment which stand out for one reason or another. The film is bristling with scenes which had the audience laughing, there was a collective “ooooh”, at one point, fairly early on in the film, and I am not ashamed to say that I shed a few tears over the ending. I would like to share two moments that I remember fondly though.
First, there is a scene in which we see Stephen receive his speech computer device (I know not the technical name). The scene itself, whilst touching and upsetting in its own way, is incredibly funny, with references to the accent and popular culture, namely Daisy Bell (and by association, Hal 9000), Gone With The Wind, and the Daleks, from Doctor Who. To me, it shows that Hawking is, just like any of us, just another human being, who may, or may not, use humour to mask the pain that we feel. I’m no psychiatrist – I don’t know what the scene truly meant, but I know that it helped me connect with him on a level that I didn’t believe would be possible.
And the second scene, purely for the emotional aspect – this being the one that took me over the tear-threshold – appears at the end of the film, where we have Stephen and his then ex-wife Jayne, watching their children play in a beautiful garden, and he says to her, “Look what we made”. The film then proceeds to flash-back through various moments of the film, and as an artistic piece, it ends perfectly, referencing an idea they shared earlier in the film, as well as being a perfect accompaniment for the emotions that the audience had to have been feeling.
There is nothing left to do now, but to use the words I found myself thinking whilst watching the film, as mentioned above.
The Theory Of Everything is, quite simply put, a work of art. There are not enough words to describe the way in which we are taken on a scientific adventure of self-discovery, through titters and tears, despair and delights. There are moments where you want to laugh, moments when you want to cry, and moments where the director has cruelly made you wish to do both merely seconds after one another. The director has managed to successfully cement a single thought in my mind – a thought I had experienced before, but was inadequately informed to be sure of… Stephen Hawking is, essentially, one of the most amazing people to be alive, nay, to have ever lived.
I tip my hat to everyone involved with the creation of The Theory Of Everything, and if you haven’t already seen it, I implore you to make the effort to view it as soon as you are able.