Jones and Redmayne, what a couple. I was kept thinking that it had been a while since we had such a perfect match in the movies, and it was specially a treat to have this kind of chemistry with two people who are not stars/celebrities, taking away from the material, plus the fact that they are both wonderful performers, and it couldn't get any better with a great job done by the director and his team. What a perfect universe and what a treat for us.
Hawkins and his wife, the story. It all begins in Cambridge, as two plain but smart and sensitive people fall for each other. Not sure what liberties were taking with the real people's personalities, but it's refreshing to see a film that concentrates on the wonders of falling for each other, and it's simple, perfect, organic. It doesn't take away from giving us enough to understand each of their personalities, and there's no big drama, except for the eventual introduction of the muscular deterioration, but every element is worked around the relationship between these two very special people, a man who revolutionized the world of Physics, and a woman who couldn't be more different from him if we had concentrated on philosophical or theological angles. These two don't let two matters derail their emotions, and it's not that they live in a perfect world, or that they are in a perfect relationship. It would be a boring story otherwise.
Hawkins health deteriorates, and the prognosis is not good. He's give a couple of years to live, and this is enough to kill a budding relationship, but one hasn't counted on the strength and the level of the attraction between him and his future bride. They marry, have kids, support each other, and eventually encounter a few bumps on the road, and things get interesting.
As previously stated, they have a "normal" relationship where they care and love each other, and there is a strong core because their relationship is based on genuine affection and friendship. They undergo a period of intense stress, as it becomes obvious that she needs help, support, and she is after all, an academic. All of the attention is on him and his achievements and handicap. Her life is on the verge of falling apart, until Jonathan shows up, and to put it mildly, it does complicates things a little because a bond established between her and him, and unexpectedly between Hawkins and him.
One has to remember that things are bound to change, that the universe has rules, and this applies to relationships, too. The Hawkins stand by each other, but they are not invulnerable, and eventually more chemical reactions happen, and life changes. New people come in, some unions change, partners change, and life moves on. What doesn't change in this film is the emotional pull it possesses, and the audience is bewitched by its power, as we continue admiring the beautiful work done by this team. I was a bit hesitant at first because there were comparisons to "My Left Foot", but the work here is more subtle, and the emphasis is not on the physical acting (though it's quite impressive). Instead more is done with lines, with looks, with more subtle approaches. One can almost hear the heartbeats, the power of a sigh, expressing desire, love, or frustration.
The backgrounds and the technical work is impeccable and helps the overall effect. This is a work of art where nothing gimmicky deters from the main idea. Yes, we see a very special man, with a very special mind, but most of all, we see the human being and his wife, his passions, the fact that his thirst for knowledge might originate from something truly special inside of him. I can't explain otherwise how he landed such a wonderfully spiritual partner. The film ends with a strong emphasis on the word "hope". He hoped for more than a couple of years, and his life went on for a lot longer. We only hope that most people who yearn for something as wondrous as some of the stuff we see here, have their dreams come true because unlike this film, life is hardly perfect.