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  • We are all familiar with the story and with Steven Hawking. His groundbreaking work 'A brief History of Time' and devastating disabilities propelled him irrevocably into the public consciousness and immortal fame.

    But few of us could understand the complexities of his personal life and the shocking divorce in 1990 from his long sacrificing wife of more than 25 years. Indeed that episode served to darken his reputation in the minds of many, including myself, who felt ill at ease with anyone who could leave a partner who had done so much for him just at the long awaited moment when international fame and recognition finally arrived.

    This wonderful production, so well scripted and paced throughout, serves to explain that vital anomaly in Hawking's life. And it is made all the more poignant as it is based upon the account written by his wife who has borne so much.

    But it is the breathtaking performance of Eddie Redmayne as Hawking that simply blasted this film into an extraordinary level. It is difficult enough to mimic so famous a person as Hawking and it is even more difficult to portray so accurately the debilitating and gradually increasing effects of Motor Neuron Disease. But to transmit so clearly the profound emotions and inner suffering that Hawking must have experienced in his agonizing journey was a performance that left me quite speechless and at times in uncontrollable tears.

    It would be a travesty of the industry if Eddie Redmayne is not nominated for an Oscar after this performance. And to my mind it was a work of art that simply cannot be equaled let alone beaten.

    Have a good handkerchief ready to hand.
  • "There should be no boundary between human endeavour," Stephen Hawking explains during a press conference. It is this line that strikes a chord at the very centre of James Marsh's incredible biopic on one of the most brilliant scientists of our time. The Theory of Everything is not just a story about the science behind the beginnings of our universe, but the science of love; and how life's challenges that we face everyday, shape who we are and what we achieve. Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones turn in phenomenal performances as the revolutionary Stephen Hawking and his former wife Jane Wilde. Eddie's mentally and physically challenging role, displaying Hawkings brilliance and motor neuron disease, are extremely commendable and impressive (a sure fire for a Best Actor nomination at next year's Oscars). On the more sensitive side, Felecity displays the endless love and powerful fight Jane brought to the Hawking household. As the years pass, their lives are changed tremendously in very profound and heart-wrenching ways. The movie does not shy away from making Hawking a complex character, as well as Jane, showing both their positive and negative sides. I really liked that the movie was able to shape them into fully well-rounded characters despite the "romance" aspect of it. The score for the film is tremendous.. absolutely outstanding! It hits all the right marks, brings upon emotions right when you are on the verge of tears, leaves you in awe after a beautiful monologue, and finishes with a melancholy but very fitting tone. The script and directing were top-notch.. right up there with the best... and the cinematography? give that guy an award already! A masterpiece to watch. While some critics may be quick to judge how the film focuses more on the romance rather than the science that made Hawking so renowned, I believe that the love is what made him who he is today. Human endeavour is endless... Stephen never gave up hope, nor did Jane... and though their lives ended up in different places, it was their years together that displayed to us how a little bit of hope can go a very, very long way.

    Verdict: A beautiful story that shows how time and love are limitless... no beginning, no end (despite his earlier hypothesis). *****

    In Theatres: November 7th, 2014 (USA), January 2, 2015 (UK)
  • What a wonderful accomplishment of a film by James Marsh (Man on Wire) who brings such depth and beauty to the life/love story of Stephen and Jane Hawking. The film is adapted from her novel on their life and brings forth much of the love and tenacity necessary to care for and love someone going through great physical struggles over time. Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones give fantastic and intimate portrayals of Stephen and Jane during their courtship and lives together. My vote for best film at this year's Toronto International Film Festival. In Q&A after film James Marsh told a great story about Stephen Hawking's reaction to the film where he gave the response that it was in "largely genuine"... and Eddie Redmayne said that Stephen Hawking after viewing the film allowed them to use his actual "voice" instead of their approximation for the film that they had produced. The most touching was that Hawking had tears to be wiped away after viewing which will give to you a sense of how genuine this film is.
  • Encompassing all the best parts of films like A Beautiful Mind by Ron Howard but creating its own signature and style to the biopic genre, James Marsh's gorgeous and beautifully compelling The Theory of Everything, the true story of Stephen and Jane Hawking, is a sensitive piece of filmmaking that stands as one of the finest movie efforts of the year. Starring Eddie Redmayne as Stephen and Felicity Jones as Jane, the two develop a masterful and sonorous dynamic that behaves as a naturalistic relationship that inhabits qualities of both love and sadness. They're a match made in heaven. Also acting as a morality tale, screenwriter Anthony McCarten puts forth intriguing questions regarding love in the shadow of someone's disability. Do you really know what is asked of you when you vow to love someone in sickness and in health? What happens when disability doesn't allow you to love the way you want? Are you better off just breaking free if you have the chance?

    The film acts as a moving oil painting. Benoît Delhomme shoots to utter perfection. Intimate in scenes requiring the viewer's undivided attention, and taking the liberty to capture the essence of the time where the innocence of love offers many possibilities. The scenes ultimately feel as if we're in a dream sequence, sleeping silently as these two lives play out in our minds.

    You don't get any tears or moving feelings without the bravura score of Jóhann Jóhannsson. Criminally overlooked last year in the grand scheme of things for his work on Prisoners, the composer orchestrates his best score of his career. Very likely not just my favorite score of the year so far but one of mine in the last few years. From the opening credits, Jóhannsson puts his stamp with heavy violins and beautiful piano playing. In the end credits, you can sit and marvel as the names cross the screen with the music that accompanies it.

    When it comes to biopics, people tend to automatically give credit to makeup and body language when talking about a performer. Past winners like Jamie Foxx in Ray have always felt empty as a performance but people were so tied in with the mannerisms that he brought to the role, which he often did in his stand up comedy routines. In Eddie Redmayne, we get a fully realized and tender performance. The first twenty minutes of the film, prior to the diagnosis of Hawking's disease, Redmayne utilizes all the quick wit and charm to show what his Stephen loved the most of his work and his woman. Obviously going through the physical transformation must be rewarded. Contorting his body and learning the physical tics that Stephen Hawking has displayed in real life all ring true. Since his breakout work in Les Miserables, a role that should have landed him a nomination for Best Supporting Actor, I was wary to believe I'd revisit a praising session with the young actor so soon. It's one of the best things offered this year.

    When it comes to Felicity Jones, the emotional backbone of the entire process has to be awarded to her. With stunning works in Like Crazy under her belt, Jones takes upon a daunting and heavily emotional character, never afraid to have the audience dislike or be disappointed in what she's doing. Marsh directs her to astonishing resolve. As a leading lady, Jones ignites such fiery and compelling questions not necessarily asked before in a biopic such as this. Complex and staggering in the way she decides to portray the brave Jane, Jones allows her character to grow, and both live and learn inside of her. What's most remarkable about Jones is she makes everything seem so effortless. She's not faking anything, she's really feeling and becoming Jane. She locates all the emotions required of her to execute successfully. It's a turn I wouldn't be surprised to see runaway with the Academy Award for Best Actress.

    The supporting players are no shortage of talent, though secondary to this type of story. Charlie Cox was just as good in his screen time. As Jonathan, Cox lays it all out on the table, heart on sleeve, and soul bared for all of us to see. David Thewlis, Emily Watson, and Simon McBurney are all solid but brief.

    Production Designer John Paul Kelly and Costume Designer Steven Noble should be commended for their meticulous craft in bringing the time period to the screen. An Oxford University dormitory along with a dozen outfits worn by all the characters can easily be taken for granted in a film like this.

    Screenwriter Anthony McCarten adapts his script from the book "Travelling to Infinity: My life with Stephen" which was written by Jane Hawking. Audiences like their fair share of love stories, but some of them, rather most of them, don't like the ugly that goes with it. In real life, people make mistakes, and do things that can make some cringe. I believe some of the more questionable and controversial things during the Hawkings marriage was merely glossed over to not paint them negatively, even though the world is well aware of what went on. I'll be honest, I knew next to nothing about Stephen Hawking and his work prior to sitting for the movie. I knew the robot voice and that's where it about ended. If anything, the film inspires me to learn more about Stephen's work and theories presented. All of those things are definitely given a back seat to a film that doesn't really require them. The Theory of Everything is not about the equations or the mathematics. It's essentially about us. It's about love, and not just in the form of marriage. We as humans learn to love ourselves, our families, and our children. They are placed in our lives but I'm not sure how much we realize what goes into maintaining those relationships. The movie makes you think of those things.
  • The Theory of Everything tells the uphill struggle that world renowned genius Stephen Hawking went through when dealing with his, now, infamous disease and trying to maintain his relationship with his loving wife, Jane. The strengths of this film rely solely on Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones. These two actors are absolutely, one hundred percent, PHENOMENAL in these two roles. Stephen Hawking is the role that Redmayne was born to play. Hawking is portrayed as a charming and intellectually superior individual that behaves just like any one else. After a bit, we start to wonder what was every so amazing about him...then the heartbreak starts. Jane Hawking is a sweet, loving and determined person that will go to the lengths of the universe to make sure her husband, Stephen can survive. I get chills just thinking about certain scenes, some of which will most definitely be requiring a large box of Kleenex. The truth is, anything that I say here about these performances, no matter what it is, is still criminally underselling the sheer brilliance of them. Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones are simply incredible and I'd be even willing to go to the extreme to say that both actors will not only be nominated, but I'd be surprised if they didn't win the Oscar gold. Now, with that being said, this film's structural issues are severely hampering this film's chances at being a classic. I wasn't completely sold on the structural integrity of the film. It showed enough of the relationship aspect behind Stephen and Jane but it very briefly touched base on Hawking's intellectual discoveries and I thought that if it was a bit more balanced in that respect, it would be a near perfect film. One plot point that I did find utterly enthralling is the idea that Hawking struggles throughout the film to do simple things. These scenes are, by far, the most heart wrenching scenes to watch. James Marsh directs his actors effortlessly and can evoke the type of emotional response out of his audience through them, but when left with telling a story, Marsh falters. Marsh, known for 2012 IRA drama, Shadow Dancer proves that he is an actor's director. He cares about human drama over anything in a tangible sense, which benefits this film greatly but also harms it in the way of progression. Despite these minor infractions, The Theory of Everything is a film that everyone can enjoy and turns into a real audience movie. It is a film that will have you laughing one minute and crying the next, no easy feat for any film, and this one does it effortlessly.
  • One might think that this movie would be about esoteric theories that are beyond the capacity for most people.

    You would be so wrong!

    This was probably the best love story I have ever seen. I was on the edge of my seat watching Jane Hawking (Felicity Jones) as she did more and more amazing acts of love for Stephan Hawking (Eddie Redmayne). I cannot imagine anyone that fits the definition of love more than she did.

    Redmayne was brilliant as Hawking.

    Anthony McCarten took Jane Hawing's book and wrote a screenplay that was a thrill to watch.
  • jadepietro29 November 2014
    This film is highly recommended.

    You can certainly tell it's Oscar time when all the more dignified and personal projects inundate the movie houses in hopes of capturing the gold. For most of the other nine months, we get lesser efforts and big blockbuster spectacles to fill-in until late October arrives. Then, it's time to get serious about our cinema choices. The Theory of Everything is one such film. It carries its pedigree with style and class, even if it is a rather conventional biopic in disguise, with its main character suffering through a debilitating disease while finding the stamina to go on.

    With a very literate screenplay by Anthony McCarten and accomplished direction by James Marsh, the film tells the story of famed scientist Stephen Hawking and his battle with ALS. It also concentrates on his relationship with his supportive and loving wife, Jane.

    Love will conquer all. Or so it should. But the horrors of this disease and the hardships they face seem unsurmountable. We see the couple meet, fall in love, marry, have children, and grow weary of each other. Stephen achieves adoration, fame, and fortune while Jane takes a back seat to her caregiver role and bringing up the family, amid the tears and frustration they face on a daily basis. One immediately empathizes with these characters due to their tragic situations.

    The two leads are splendid and their acting is peerless. Felicity Jones plays Jane. Her role may be less showy and far more understated, but the actress is perfect at showing Jane's endurance and strength in the subtlest of ways. Eddie Redmayne is Stephen Hawking and his performance is literally trans-formative. (He must have learned his craft from tons of research about Hawking and creative influence from Daniel Day Lewis.) This is an impressive physical performance, from his black horn rimmed glasses to his walking cane and distorted posture. Both will receive well-earned accolades for their memorable work. Fine supporting work by Charlie Cox as Jonathan, their loyal friend, and Simon McBurney as Stephen's father add more clarity to the film.

    As with most biographical films, one sees the rise and fall of the protagonist before it arrives. This film follows that tries-and-true formula. But Marsh's direction compensates for the linear structure and predictability of the story. The director relies heavily on his actors' subtle actions to tell more about their characters than the mere words they speak. He also wisely shows Hawking's point of view by angling the camera range from a lower stance or keeping it stationary to reinforce the characters' immobility. The final scene, recapping Hawking's life in reverse, beautifully sums up Stephen's life full circle in the most visual of terms.

    But The Theory of Everything is foremost a love story. The film desperately wants to be a crowd-pleaser with an uplifting message of inspiration, even when the reality and truth of their actual lives is bleaker than it appears on screen. The film glosses over some factual content to play up the human drama of this pair of young lovers. It skillfully manipulates its audience to wallow in the heartbreak. Director Marsh successfully capture the pangs of young love and bittersweet romance in this emotionally involving film.

    The Theory of Everything is an immensely satisfying film with stand-out acting and skilled direction. The proof is right there on the screen, even if the facts are slightly askew. GRADE: B+

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    ANY COMMENTS: Please contact me at: jadepietro@rcn.com
  • But it does tell an inspiring story about Stephen Hawking's personal struggle with his illness that's very uplifting.

    The story of Stephen Hawking and his then wife Jane, apparently based on a book she wrote about it, which probability explains why there was not much science in the movie, not that I'm complaining, as it was a well played film about a difficult relationship.

    I didn't known Stephen and his wife actually met around the same time as he began to suffer from Lou Gehrig's Disease. Makes the whole concept that Hawking has three kids with this woman more interesting (something was working). Felicity Jones did a great job playing such a strong, patient, and compassionate woman, all well narrated in this movie. The difficulty Jane Hawking had being with a man getting trapped in his own body, played by Eddie Redmayne.I have herd of Hawking's surprisingly positive personality, not because of his condition, but because I expected his condition would make it hard to express any emotion. Redmayne did his research to express the struggle of Hawking on camera nicely (I keep forgetting The Hawking is a Brit).

    This movie turned out to be a great one about the time span of a relationship. Done more romantically than borderline soft-core flicks like Blue is the warmest color and 9 songs, and it was not as depressing as Blue Valentine. it was just a true take on a complex relationship taking it's toll, well performed by some brilliant actors.

    If your looking to watch this movie to hear some science talk, that's not what the movie is really about, unless ironically convincing the world of his theories on time was really as easy as the movie makes it out for Hawking. Overall very enjoyable.
  • Before going into and seeing, The Theory of Everything, I really did not know too much about Stephen Hawking. I of course knew who he was and that he was a famous physicist for his work on black holes and other such matters and I had also seen video clips and photos of him, but really knew otherwise next to nothing about him and I have never actually read any of his books, but after seeing the film I am a little tempted and curious to do so, even if the subject matter does go over my head a bit (I both did poorly and did not enjoy high school physics class). On the other hand, those who go into The Theory of Everything, looking for an elaborate account of Hawking's work and his science and the method behind his work, then those people may be in for a bit of a letdown as this story while it does focus on Hawking's life, it mostly focuses on his long marriage and relationship with his wife, Jane, who wrote the book on which the film is based on. The film focuses heavily on the relationship between Stephen and his wife, Jane and the hardships they had to deal with due to his various health problems that he developed when they first become interested in each other till the present time. Eddie Redmayne, who plays Hawking, does a phenomenal job here. He starts out as a shy, somewhat bookish and nerdy student who has a fair bit of humour to him and also has a love of education and finding out the big questions and answers of the world. As his illness develops and progresses over the years, we see how hard it is for him to move, speak and just do everyday things whereas he is eventually confined to a wheelchair and has to speak through a computer. Redmayne's performance is so believable and must have been really hard to pull off as we see him struggle to eat, walk, speak and just how he twists his face and muscles and how much physical difficulty and pain is involved in this as well as his strong desire to succeed and to achieve more and more each day is evident in Redmayne's wonderful performance which must have been exhausting and difficult to play, but he does an excellent job here in what I think is one of the year's best performances. Equally good here is Felicity Jones, who plays Jane. While the role is not as demanding physically, it is more demanding emotionally as we see her totally devote herself to all of Stephen's every waking needs and how she went out of her way to both care and love for him. At times it was certainly difficult and I am sure she just wanted to give up, but we also as in him, see her determination to make things work and she is an incredibly strong person and character and you can see that everything she does has her full best and wonderful intentions. Her performance is an emotional one and is beautifully and brilliantly portrayed as well and is also one of the year's best performances. When the film first started out, I thought it would be a fairly safe and by the numbers biopic, but it really took me by surprise at how interesting I found these characters, their lives and the situations they found themselves in. Again because of the brilliant performances and masterful script and direction we can both care for and have empathy for these characters as well as personally cheer them on and wish all the best for them as we are sitting quietly in our theatre screens glued to the screen with captivation and interest. The film has an excellent pace to it and works well as a biographical film, but works even better as a story of love and the difficulties and sacrifices it took to make it work and just how strong both Stephen and his wife are at the end of this film after all they have gone through. It really is an inspirational and feel good film when you think about it after all they accomplished and went through. Sure there are moments of heartache and when we see them suffer, but it is not all grim. We also see moments of happiness and how these two, from the second they met, really do love each other and had a marriage full of trust and devotion to one another. The film is doing well in limited release and expanded wider in theatres this week and I feel very privileged to have been able to see it on the big screen. It is thoroughly fascinating from start to finish and features two of this year's most believable and best performances and also gives us hope and encouragement while we may be not exactly in their same circumstances, but for other things as well. The Theory of Everything, is a real triumph and one of the best films of 2014.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The curse of most biopics about famous individuals is that the films in question always boil down a subjects life to a "greatest hits" reel and then stuffs the rest of the run time with a sub-narrative to tie all these moments together. More often than not, this sub-narrative is a love story, which isn't inherently bad; it's just that when a proper balance isn't struck between the major themes and the filler, the results are usually lackluster. "The Theory Of Everything" charts the tumultuous marriage of legendary physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife Jane as they struggle to keep their life together while Stephen slowly succumbs to the symptoms of ALS. And while it puts all of its efforts into trying to be a heartbreaking portrait of a strained marriage (a portrait that at times is quite beautiful), the movie seemingly forgets that one of its subjects also happened to be one of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century.

    Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) and Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones) meet in college and forge a bond through the universal law of "opposites attract". Jane believes in romance and poetry and God, while Stephen believes in logic and reason and the rejection of what he calls a "celestial dictatorship". Jane is pursuing an education in the written word while Stephen seeks to find a unifying theory that can explain life, the universe, and everything. The two fall in love, only to face a roadblock when Stephen is diagnosed with a neurological disorder that threatens to destroy his motor skills one by one, giving him two years at most to live. Jane pledges to stay by his side, and although Stephen beats the odds and manages to live year after year, the struggles of caring for her crippled husband take their toll on Jane.

    If the above description seems like it forgot to mention that Stephen Hawking was a world famous physicist whose theories were revolutionary and world changing, it's because for the most part, the movie forgets this too. The most we see of Stephen's career is regulated to the beginning and end of the movie, with passing mentions made to the evolution of his work made whenever the film needs to remind the audience of where we are in history; such as in a moment shortly after the birth of Stephen's third child, when his father mentions that Stephen is "world famous". Having never seen Stephen working on anything beyond giving a lecture or two, we never actually see how he got to this point. It's frustrating, because the film doesn't seem to want to find a way to balance "Stephen the Husband" with "Stephen the Physicist", and so we watch as The Physicist is shoved to the margins.

    Not that the story of Jane and Stephen is terrible, it's just that its good moments are few and far in between. A lot of these struggles manifest in tropes so familiar, there was a point when I really felt that this could've been any story about a husband and wife dealing with the pain of a partner's disease. The fact that it involves Stephen and Jane Hawking is, at times, almost entirely inconsequential. These flaws aren't helped by some of the film's problematic directing and editing choices. Certain scenes seem to trail on after they clearly should've ended, and important characters are thrown into the film far too late, only to disappear again without mention. When Emily Watson showed up almost an hour in without being identified, I was left baffled until Felicity Jones drops a "Mum" in her line to signify who she's speaking to. Why are we meeting such an important person in Jane's life, played by such a serious actress, this late in the movie? It's just one example of some of the sloppy structure choices made by director James Marsh.

    It's only Eddie Redmayne, who truly makes his presence as an actor known here, that keeps the movie from sinking into the muddy bog of familiarity. As Stephen loses more and more of his basic motor skills, Redmayne finds ways to make every movement count, whether it's a playful smirk or a downward glance of pain. His chemistry with Felicity Jones, who turns the inner conflict of Jane's struggles into a revelatory performance of its own, is endearing; and when the two are allowed to flex their acting muscles they create some of the films greatest moments. Honorable mentions also go to Benoît Delhomme's gorgeous cinematography and Jóhann Jóhannsson's powerful score.

    Ultimately "The Theory Of Everything" has joined the ranks of "Ray" and "Jobs" and "Dallas Buyers Club": performance pieces more concerned with winning acting awards than telling a good story. As memorable as Redmayne and Jones are, their talents only serve to turn a film that would've been completely forgettable into "good but not great". The Hawking's deserved better.
  • I've read scientists are turned off by this film for its omissions, simplifications, falsities, and other failures to explain Prof. Hawking's theories. I can understand that, being a law specialist who can't watch law dramas. But if you're not a cosmologist or a physicist you should not be discouraged by the film's failure to give you enough detail for a two credit course. It's a good drama of people, a bit schmaltzy as befits the facts, and in that regard I understand it's pretty accurate, and is definitely well acted and directed. Also a nice glimpse of what Oxbridge life was like in the 1950s. As they say, the male lead is Oscar bait.
  • Day Two of Cinemark's Oscar Movie Week brought us the illustrious life story of quantum theorist Stephen Hawking. His degeneration is unraveled with precision, but there's really not much else to make this a memorable film.

    Hawking is portrayed by Eddie Redmayne, an actor who's deserved his chance to shine for a long time now. His performance is nothing short of beauty, especially considering the movie was filmed out of sequence. His ability to show the many stages of Hawking's illness is remarkably impressive. Felicity Jones' performance as Hawking's wife Jane is equally impressive as we watch her struggle to maintain her husband's condition.

    Unfortunately, the rest of the film is not so adept. The film plays out like the very mathematical equations in which its subject envelopes himself. It almost feels like a TV movie in its formulaic sympathy. That's not to say it isn't a tragic story, but its telling did little for me.

    For the first two-thirds or so, the film doesn't seem to know what it wants to be: A touching story of a seemingly doomed affair, or a bold statement on Hawking's theories. Ultimately it succeeds at neither, amounting to a light, safe, almost entirely forgettable romantic drama. Even the score, which has been winning countless awards this season, I found indistinguishable from any number of films of the same ilk.

    I really hate the term "Oscar Bait," but if a movie were to define it, this would be the one. Its only salvation is the performances of its leads, who seem to be the only ones giving the film any heart.
  • This is 2014's most overrated film of the year. While Eddie Redmayne is good as Stephen Hawking, it's really just a performance that deceives the viewer and critic. He looks like Hawking. His hair and clothes look like Hawking. He does the 'Hawking' smile and weird thinking stare face and frowns. Yes, he does a believable Hawking. Well done. But it's just a glorified impersonation. There's no actual great acting or stretch of a transformation or method or scenes that Redmayne is tested as an actor nor Hawking's character development. The dialogue and interactions, aside from using actual Hawking quotes from speeches and writings, are awful and boring and redundant and derivative. The whole performance is mild and plain, and the story is weak. The story has generally been done before. There are no significant scenes or moments that go above and beyond anything generic, nor anything for Redmayne to truly bite into to 'perform.' Even the accident and fall portion of the film is mild and never really becomes that emotional at all. Mostly, the film fails miserably in exploring Hawking's internal thoughts, imagination, rituals, and inspirations.

    It plays like a T.V. movie. And quite frankly i'm tired of these Hollywood films doing biopics about an ENTIRE life, using montage and generic moments that aren't specific or significant enough. Biopics that are focused on a period on a life is more interesting than trying to do a whole life in two hours. There's no sense of Hawking and his children in his life. Births are fast-tracked, montage child play and smiles. The film gives you an impression of just Jane, his wife, being a vessel for children. There's no sense of Hawkings personal life, interests, time spent, or anything underpinning the vast ideas he develops. We see him on a beach or being pushed in a wheelchair by family as piano plays. The film is devoid of politics or popular culture and changing times of each decade other than clothes as lazy indicators, and the exception of pointing out Penthouse a few times as some recurring wink wink joke to convey Hawking as some sexual guy. This 'sexualized' Hawking happens throughout the film in various ways..."so Stephen, do some things still 'work.'" The movie mostly follows Jane and her torn affair with some choir priest. In fact, Jane is in more scenes and gets more to act on screen than Stephen Hawking (and Redmayne for that matter). The story is more focused on tripe romance and affair rather than Hawking. And even when departing, a montage is set in again. No emotional development is organic. And, perhaps, maybe as brilliant as Hawking is and as tragic as his condition is, maybe he's just a boring guy and not much can be that interesting in terms of a character on film in scenes other than a guy sitting in a wheelchair mumbling and smiling and frowning. The film would've done a better job with Hawking's imagination and space interpreted in shots, as well as the times he was living in and absorbing and watching as opposed to generic renderings of his domestic life (which was still mild and safe compared to the actual reality) and Jane's struggle and perspective. Everything is furthered by cued dramatic music and montage and shots of faces occasionally. By trying to cram in broad strokes in writing the film into a corner with Jane's story, the theory of everything becomes theory of nothing.
  • A biopic of Stephen Hawking, mostly focused on his relationship with his first wife, Jane (the film is based on her own autobiography). It has little interest in what Stephen Hawking is about, except for very cursorily. I guess that's not a huge problem, but, frankly, I don't know that much about Hawking and wished I had gotten to learn more from this movie. It does deal a lot with his disease and health struggles, which I suppose many are more interested in. The film will surely be most notable for its two lead performances. Eddie Redmayne certainly nails the physical side of Hawking and projects a very clear character. Felicity Jones, though, does better work as the woman who has to work very hard to make their lives work. No one else really registers much (though David Thewlis and Emma Watson, among many others, are featured), but that doesn't really matter. The filmmaking is competent but not notable. James Marsh, best known for his documentaries Man on Wire and Project Nim, has done good work in feature filmmaking before with the underrated The King. Here he doesn't get much to register. My favorite thing besides the lead performances was the very pleasant score, by Johan Johansson. Probably worth seeing on video, but don't go out of your way.
  • daveinlv1 December 2014
    This type of movie must be factually correct above everything else. Instead it is a hodgepodge of 50% theatrics, 49% personal life drama and 1% science and even that of questionable accuracy.

    For example, it seems to imply that the theory of singularity was developed by Hawking and it was immediately hailed by the scientific world which is totally at odds with the account given by Hawking himself in his own book.

    The theory of stellar collapse was developed by Subrahmanyam Chandrasekhar on board a ship on his way to England for higher studies at Cambridge. It was based on his flash of insight that while Pauli Exclusion Principle is limited by Relativity, Gravity is not and therefore when a star above a certain mass (later named Chandrasekhar Limit) begins to collapse, it completely disappears into a mathematical abstraction called singularity. This shockingly alien concept was hotly contested by the scientific orthodoxy and ferociously attacked by his supervisor Sir Arthur Eddington and opposed by Einstein himself even though the mathematics was irrefutable ("A Brief History of Time", P. 83-85).

    In fact, Eddington's hostility was so vicious that Chandrasekhar had to switch his field of study although it later formed the foundation of the theory of Black Holes which was built upon by others like Oppenheimer. Arthur I. Miller's "Empire of the Stars" gives a detailed account of Chandrasekhar's scientific career and his rivalry with Eddington.

    Hawking is unquestionably one of the most brilliant minds of our time but to credit him with the achievement of another brilliant mind and to totally distort history does grave injustice to both of them and misguides the viewers.
  • This movie completely misses the mark. The world is interested in Stephen Hawking for his scientific contributions to the world. The fact he has a horrible illness is incidental. This movie drags the viewer through the weeds of Hawking's pain and suffering and never let's up until the final minutes of the movie. It was exhausting to watch and leaves the viewer with no real answers to the questions they came to better understand, explore and enjoy.

    For example, questions like these never get addressed what exactly are Hawking's contributions? How have they shaped thinking and helped develop a better understanding of the universe? Why was Hawking's PhD thought to be so magnificent and why did Hawking later seek to disprove his original theory? Did he disprove the original theory? How has Hawking been able to live so long despite a two year prognosis given in 1963? What lead Hawking to consider the existence of god?

    Hawking is played by Eddie Redmayne who does a fabulous job making you feel as though you are watching Hawking himself.

    This movie is about a man with a horrible illness who happens to be a magnificent scientist. The story should have been told the other way around.
  • The Theory of Everything is an extremely moving love story concerning the brilliant British scientist Stephen Hawking and his first marriage. Whilst you may need a PhD in Physics to understand the intricacies of Hawking's theories (which by coincidence I have and – no – it's not enough) the lack of any sort of Physics knowledge is not a barrier to enjoying this movie.

    Starting in 1963 when Hawking is starting his PhD studies in Cambridge University, the story picks up with the geeky and socially inadequate Hawking as he sparks a (rather unlikely) relationship with the extremely attractive Jane (Felicity Jones from "The Invisible Woman"). If this segment of the film had a hashtag it would be #punchingabovehisweight. Greatly encouraged by his mentor Dennis Sciama – generally seen as the father of modern cosmology and played by the ever reliable David Thewlis – Hawking develops his extraordinary theories (and counter-theories) in the hot-house of a 1960's Cambridge. Fate cruelly steps in though with Hawking developing the Motor Neuron Disease with which he is now famously associated. Given he was given just 2 years to live, he clearly has a private black hole somewhere to have warped time for the last 60+ years! As biopics go, this is an exceptionally good one. Eddie Redmayne's Hawking is just mesmeric. Hawking himself, on being given the opportunity to see the film before its world premiere, commented that at times he thought he was watching himself. The depths of physical and emotional acting Redmayne displays with this performance has to be seen to be believed, and I will personally eat my hat if Redmayne does not get at least an Oscar nomination for this part. (And who wouldn't want to see Hawking himself roll out to announce an award at the Kodak theatre!).

    Felicity Jones is also outstanding in the role of Jane. The film is based on Jane Hawking's own book although screenwriter Anthony McCarten has taken a few liberties with the life story for dramatic effect. As referenced above, Hawking has seen the film and he was reportedly so moved that he shed a tear and then offered the use of the actual audio from his speech synthesizer for the film. So in this sense, Hawking narrates his own dialogue in the latter half of the film, which is quite a coup.

    Supporting actor parts are also great from an ensemble cast with Simon McBurney ("Magic in the Moonlight", TV's "Rev") as Hawking's father, Harry Lloyd as Hawking's university friend Brian and Charlie Cox as the 'family friend' Jonathan being particularly effective.

    The director is James Marsh, best known for his gripping documentaries "Man on Wire" and "Project Nim", and the cinematographer Benoît Delhomme ("The Boy in the Striped Pajamas") realising a wonderfully nostalgic vision of 60's Cambridge. Also notable is the beautifully fitting music by Islandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson - I fully expected this in the credits to be the omni-present Alexandre Desplat, but for once I was wrong! So a 'must see' in the run up to the Oscar season, but one to take lots of tissues to if you are affected by emotional films: this one seemed to be particularly impactful on the females in the audience - perhaps because it tells the love story from the perspective of Jane - with my wife virtually in tears throughout! (Or maybe that's just because the realisation has finally struck that she's been married to a PhD physicist for 30 years??!).

    (If you enjoyed this review please see my archive of other reviews at bob-the-movie-man.com and subscribe to receive more).
  • I was hugely disappointed by this film after all the hype.

    First niggle was seeing Jane Hawking played by a model actress. That made her attraction to the awkward and frankly not very charming young version of Stephen Hawking difficult to believe.

    A major problem throughout was over use of soft focus, it made the whole thing feel very unreal.

    It hardly touched on Stephen's work at all. All it seemed to say was he got praise for one idea and then got praise for another idea that contradicted his first. Hardly portraying the work of a genius, which Stephen undoubtedly is.

    So OK it's supposed to be a love story then. What love story? I felt no real chemistry between the two leads at all.

    Then there is the chocolate box representation of middle England and the stereotypical characters in it, again all in soft blinking focus.

    As for Eddie Redmayne's performance it was OK but I did not find it at all engaging. It was a good physical impression of Stephen Hawking but where was the passion, where was the angst? Sadly missing for me.

    One final niggle, there is a scene towards the end where Stephen is supposed to be conversing with Jane and it is absolutely clear that there is no way he could be creating the text on his computer in the speed required to produce the conversation we see.

    I watched it with my wife on Valentine's day eve and she was equally unimpressed.

    How this film can be considered for any Oscars is a total mystery to me. Whiplash is so so so so much better.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Our subject, Stephen Hawking, was on the verge of discovering THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING, but the director obviously didn't realize before a montage sequence shows two people getting married, and then their babies growing into toddlers before our very eyes, we should know the characters just a bit.

    The romantic setup at Cambridge University, bathed in an opulent nostalgic glow of academia, does look wonderful. And yet the meeting of Stephen and his first wife Jean is so quick and easy, it's not one bit interesting.

    As an actor and probably the next Oscar winner, Eddie Redmayne transforms from a quirky, ambitious student into the tortured, wheelchair-bound genius, but the performance shouldn't be compared to Daniel Day Lewis in MY LEFT FOOT since this particular vehicle seems more like an actor's workshop than a fleshed-out biopic with a genuine character arc.

    It's as if the scriptwriter wanted Hawking's controversial philosophies on Atheism, through the prism of discovering a powerful Black Hole, to have a cinematic soundboard – with an intellectual date movie buried within the stardust. Yet after tedious bouts of soap opera diatribes we never really know the man behind the suffering and brilliance, and how he managed to bridge his personal life with his breakthrough in science, and beyond.

    Like an actual Black Hole, this particular THEORY has an intriguing design with absolutely nothing inside.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Here are my reasons, in summary:

    1) The film goes way too fast, we jump from one scene to another and the events develop very quickly, not giving us time to assimilate what happened. Examples: Stephen's and Jane's Romance, Stephen's theories about time, children that appear out of nowhere and finally Stephen and Jane's separation.

    2)You're never sure what this film is really about. Is it about love? About the universe? About life in general? It's probably about all that together, but there is no balance with these topics for sure.

    3)The last scene, where Hawking answers questions from the audience, seems way too forced. I believe the filmmakers wanted this too become a memorable scene, but it doesn't really feel that way. There is no sense of a climax here, since SH only gets asked comfortable questions, so there is no conflict. He is already world famous and very successful, I get that, but that just makes the audience not care too much about him, since he has nothing to lose.

    4) It's never explained how SH managed to live more than the expected two years. I'm sure there is an explanation for that, but it is never given in the film.

    5) Finally, I have the feeling this movie never really takes off. It just seems to be at the same emotional level during the two hours, which makes it rather flat. This is very connected with #1, I felt like the entire film was a giant trailer for a bigger film. Dunno how to explain it better.

    Those are my general impressions of the movie, maybe you agree with me, maybe not. I agree that Redmayne's acting was great, but I wouldn't give this movie more than 5 points out of then. Definitely not compare it to "A Beautiful Mind"
  • Warning: Spoilers
    With so many mediocre films being released each year, it's refreshing to see a picture that values good storytelling, strong character development, and a meaningful theme over the standard cop-outs of violence, profanity, and little left to the imagination. "The Theory of Everything" may lack the typical blockbuster trappings, but it more than makes up for it with its incredibly beautiful and bittersweetly uplifting story, handled with great subtlety and sensitivity by director James Marsh.

    Adapted from Jane Hawking's memoirs of her life with her husband Stephen Hawking, the film elegantly and honestly chronicles their triumphs and struggles together following his diagnosis at age 21 of a debilitating motor-neuron disease (ALS), which doctors predicted would kill him in two years. Much in the spirit of "The King's Speech", it is a story of going up against the odds, no matter how high they are stacked against you, and still emerging victorious. Neither a straight-forward biopic nor strictly a love story, the result is something that gives a somewhat deeper portrait of its subjects than most films based on the lives of real people usually show.

    Anthony McCarten's excellent script is bolstered by the two very capable leads of Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking and Felicity Jones as his wife Jane. Neither seem the least bit daunted by the reality of playing real-life figures who, contrary to the norm for biographical films, are still living, and ably match each other in sincere, emotional performances. A pivotal moment where Hawking has lost the ability to speak and literally can't find the words is made all their more heartbreaking by their combined talents.

    Jones is a powerhouse, bringing a strength and determination not typically seen in female roles. She does credit to her real-life counterpart, a young woman who single-handedly saw to it that nothing would stand in the way of her husband's reaching his full potential, both in his career and his life, yet had her own demons to fight as well. In my humble opinion, her performance puts her as real contender for the Best Actress Oscar next year.

    Eddie Redmayne, who happens to be a dead-ringer for the famed physicist, gives a fearless turn as Stephen Hawking. His performance is neither affected nor clownish, and at all times deeply moving. He emulates the effects of the disease so convincingly it's hard to believe it is just an act. As Hawking's ALS progresses, his motor function becomes more and more limited, yet Redmayne never lets you forget the brilliant mind inside. He allows Hawking's indomitable spirit and quirky sense of humor to shine through; merely a sly smile, a twist of the head, a glance, and you'd swear you were looking at the man himself. This complete habitation of a character is the kind that has to be seen to be believed, and coming from someone so young makes it doubly impressive. I know it's a tired cliché to say that actors who play disabled characters deserve all the awards, but if anyone has earned a Best Actor Oscar this year, it's him.

    I found myself profoundly impressed by "The Theory of Everything" for many reasons. In an era where we can so easily lose our perspective on life and take so much for granted, it makes you genuinely count your blessings and be grateful for what you have. It also serves as an inspiration to believe that anything is possible, especially in view of the fact that Hawking continues, fifty-odd years after his diagnosis, to defy all odds. I feel it will be an important film not only in an artistic sense, but also for bringing to the public consciousness the inner life of one of our century's greatest minds. If only a handful of people go out of the theatre understanding Stephen Hawking as more than a man in a wheelchair, then I believe it will have accomplished at least some of its purpose.

    With that being said, it isn't a film for everyone. For those used to quick cuts and continuous action, the powerfully character-driven storyline and lengthy close-ups with stretches of little to no dialogue may make it seem overlong, but if you appreciate a well-crafted film that gets you to think and feel as only a good film can, then don't hesitate to appreciate it for all it has to offer.
  • It was sad to see a film take such a wonderful subject as the life and ambitions of Mr. Hawkins and attempt,dismally, to create it for nothing more than a contender in the awards 'game'. This is the kind of tripe which is accepted all too readily as biopic material and offers little or nothing of the person or their skills other than to show off as a proffered mating ritual. Mr. Redmaynes painstaking efforts are the only reason I gave it any rating at all. With all the facts and wonder we have have at our disposal about the man, why is it that there is little or nothing involving his deep, driving demand for 'the answer' and all that is entailed in his studies. Rather we are given still another sexist portrayal of two people battling impossible odds to finally give in to their bases needs, with others. Not only old fare but out of place and cheapening to the real story line. I could only try to dissuade others from subjecting themselves to this demeaning film.
  • .. arguably a very good one.

    A small hat is presented to the audience. The magician turns it inside out and shows there is nothing there.

    He lays it down. Waves his hand over it. Reaches in and pulls out a large rabbit.

    Works every time.

    This movie is like that.

    It would be a good solid movie if the viewer was unaware of who Hawking is.

    Knowing in advance what is to come -- that a rabbit is due, if you like -- makes it that much more special.

    Marsh directs with a sure hand. This is the sort of film that Ron Howard usually makes, but nonetheless the audience is in capable hands.

    Redmayne is superb, the illusion is greater because he LOOKS like Hawking. Astonishing.

    Jones is centre of the film. Every film needs a centre and you could do worse than than beautiful and magical Felicity Jones.

    Her astonishing beauty (a perfectly symmetrical face and oversize eyes) depends for impact on getting just the right camera angle. This allows the director, by picking the angles, to use her beauty like a weapon with which to harpoon the viewer in key scenes. Works.

    She plays "younger" in the early scenes and "older" in the later scenes. And is never less than brilliant.

    Excellent.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    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.
  • letig199424 November 2014
    The theory of everything is probably one of the best movies I've seen so far this year. Everything about and around it has its own right space. The story is more about Jane (Felicity Jones) rather than professor Hawking - in fact it's an adaptation of the book "Traveling to Infinity: my life with Stephen" by Jane Hawking. It's her fight for her love for Stephen first, and then against his disease. She is the strongest character, even though the public easily sympathizes with everyone. They are people who have encountered difficulties in their lives and they feel extremely pure. The script is well written: the fact that it is focused more on the personal life of Stephen Hawking makes it easier to follow, although dealing a little more with his professional research would have made it deeper and maybe more philosophical. The cast simply does a great job and Eddie Redmayne's performance is superb and outstanding - hopefully it will bring him a Best Leading Actor Oscar.
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