Every time awards season rolls around, we are treated to a variety of biopics. It’s no secret why, since they’re almost always a lock for the significant awards. This is a big year for biopics, with films about Alan Turing (The Imitation Game), J. M. W. Turner (Mr. Turner), James Brown (Get On Up) and of course, Stephen Hawking.
The Theory of Everything is based on Jane Wilde’s memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen. It gives us a look at the life of Stephen Hawking. Though it is by no means a comprehensive account of his life or work, the film takes us through his time with Jane Wilde Hawking. It starts off with a chance encounter where the couple fall for each other, going on to explore their relationship and Stephen’s battle with ALS.
Eddie Redmayne‘s portrayal of Stephen Hawking is nothing short of excellence. The actor wonderfully embodies his character in the dialogues, mannerisms and even his expressions. Watching him battle Lou Gehrig’s Disease is heartbreaking. Felicity Jones is also notable as Jane Wilde Hawking. She gives an honest performance as the dedicated wife struggling to deal with the hand she’s been dealt. However, the lack of any real character development often makes Jane feel two-dimensional. Each member of the supporting cast deserves a round of applause as well. Maxine Peake and Charlie Cox, in particular, shine in their respective roles.
The film is beautifully made. The cinematography by Benoit Delhomme makes every frame feel like a work of art. Add to this Johann Johannsson‘s score and you have a sublime film that is bound to move you.
Even though you know better, it’s hard to think of The Theory of Everything as a real biopic. After all, the film skims over a number of significant events in the physicist’s life. Not only does this include his work, but the film also glosses over significant events in Hawking’s personal life. Unsurprisingly, the focus of the film lies on Stephen’s relationship with Jane. This is why it feels like more of a romantic drama that just happens to feature the physicist than a film about Stephen Hawking. Even then, it focuses largely on the relatively rosy side of their time together. A couple in a situation as unique as the Hawkings are bound to have their own set of challenges. Unfortunately, we are shown very few of these, as James Marsh chooses to gloss over them.
Though this is the only major flaw in the film, it is unfortunately significant enough to keep it from being truly noteworthy. All other aspects, ranging from the acting and dialogues to the direction and cinematography are exemplary.
Why should you watch this film?
The Theory of Everything is a noteworthy film that features stellar acting, combined with wonderful music and direction. It takes a heartbreaking yet inspiring story, and marvelously depicts it on the screen. Though it may not be the film for viewers who want a brutal biopic, it’s still a film you can’t afford to miss.