A look into the life of famous physicist Steven Hawking, focusing on his relationship with his wife and his degenerative condition, with the role of Steven Hawking being played by Eddie Redmayne and his wife being played by Felicity Jones.
With a biopic, the struggle is always trying to make it look cinematic, and not televisual. This is a struggle that is clearly happening within The Theory of Everything, and if I’m honest I’m not sure it quite counts as a truly cinematic film. It doesn’t demand that you watch it on the big screen, but it certainly feels better made than the average TV movie. So I dunno.
What I do know, however, is that The Theory of Everything is really rather good. And of course, this is near completely down to the performances. Eddie Redmayne is absolutely brilliant in the role that will grab all the headlines. Not only does he actually resemble Steven Hawking quite a lot, but he manages to completely convincingly embody the disease, with no help from cosmetics whatsoever. So just from a physical level it is a fantastic achievement. But the real beauty of his performance are the more subtle parts: when towards the film and he can hardly move his face, the small eyebrow movements that although miniscule let you know exactly what he is feeling. But really, I think that at the heart of this film is Felicity Jones. She is absolutely incredible as the wife who struggles with not only Steven’s disease, but also what at times would appear to be a lack in compassion from him.
With this kind of film, it is always a worry that the film may come across a little over-gushy towards its main character, portraying them as flawless individuals, it is then with great joy that I can tell you Steven Hawking is shown to have flaws. And actually every character in it is very real. It all feels very genuine, and that is down to the less showy members of the cast, Steven’s parents, and his friends and of course Felicity Jones. They all keep it well grounded, and this gives a proper gravity to the story, and keeps you interested, even when the film seems to be a little overlong.
Overall, it’s clear that what will stick in your mind from the movie is the performances. This is only half because they are so breathtakingly amazing, it’s also because the rest of the film is a little bit ordinary, I mean it’s all done very efficiently, but when compared to the extra-ordinaryness of Redmayne and Jones, it’s nothing special.