The Theory of Everything

I’m sure as an actor it is extremely difficult to take on a role where one must portray a character with a physical disability. There is every possibility that the actor will, to quote Robert Downey Jr., ‘go full retard’ and thus cross the line into offensive territory. Add into that the fact that the character being portrayed is world renowned and highly respected physicist Prof. Stephen Hawking and I assume the pressure world become unbearable. It is for these reasons that Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of the scientist is awe-inspiring. Redmayne maintains a respectful depiction of Hawking’s tragic physical decline with such precision that half of the time one could mistake the biopic for a documentary. Which leads us to the film’s down points.

Whilst the performances are on point and the acting is second to none, it was so convincing that a lot of the time I forgot I was watching a movie and felt more like I was watching Hawking’s E! True Hollywood Story, which left me sort of cold because I was gagging for a bit more background information and surrounding issues of the times that effected his professional and personal life. To put it briefly, it was a bit confusing. Not that excellent acting is a bad thing, because it’s not, but a lot of the time it was so realistic that is was almost boring. Which I suppose is the curse of the biopic, the film can only really be an exciting as the subject’s life, and while in documentary territory this is usually accepted, I feel that we kind of expect biopics to take a little more artistic license, especially with a subject such as time and space.

Visually the film felt quintessentially British, which is kind of going to be a given for a movie set in and around one of Britain’s most prestigious and famous Universities. The shots around campus are gorgeous, especially inside the libraries and classrooms with their antique wooden interiors. You could almost smell the wood in the hallways and rich leather inside the libraries, extremely aesthetically engaging. I feel like TToE could have been a little more visually creative when addressing Hawking’s subject matter of the universe. When such recent films as Interstellar have utilised such an interesting representation of time, space and dimensions TToE doesn’t really hold up.

At the centre of everything in the incredible life story of Professor Hawking is a tragic love story. It was very interesting to see the sacrifices Jane made for the man she loved and the film very tastefully tackles a subject matter that could very easily tip into trashy Jeremy Kyle territory.

Overall I felt that The Theory of Everything was an extremely respectful account of not only a famous scientist’s incredible life story but also an insight into the struggles and issues of trying to maintain a ‘normal’ family lifestyle whilst simultaneously dealing with a life debilitating disease without the disability being the central theme. The film is an example of excellent current British acting talent, a pamphlet guide to the beauty spots of Cambridge and an excellent example of how life doesn’t necessarily end when one is diagnosed with terminal illness but how instead it can push one to achieve the most extraordinary things.