The Theory of Everything (2014)

It's hard to do a movie about someone so smart and yet so out of reach like Stephen Hawking. The ideas that he comes up with and the innate understanding of how things in the universe work inherently limits the relatability of him as a character in a movie. While the man himself might be approachable and even enjoyable to be around, the legend has grown so huge as to be intimidating.

Eddie Redmayne manages very well to reduce the myth of the man to a guy who has to go through the same crap that all of us have to go through, but he has the added burden of expectations and a curious mind that cannot be sated with the same minesweeper-esque twiddling of the thumbs that you or I can zone out with. Instead, he fiddles with models of the universe in his mind, and he manages not to be pretentious all the while.

Felicity Jones plays the girl Eddie pursues and ultimately has children with. The movie was based on the book that her character, Jane Wilde Hawking, wrote. As a result, the movie is about her interactions with Stephen more than anything, and that is completely justifiable. The effect reminds me of Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story in that it was also written by the woman who would eventually become his wife, so all other women are portrayed as periphery at best and as simple sex objects at worst.

While I would have loved for the movie to cover more of his theories, that's not what this movie was intended to be about. It is supposed to be about relationships between people and dealing with hardship that comes with life (in this case, quite a bit of hardship). It's also humanizing Stephen and wrestling with the fact that anyone who tries to interact with him is undoubtedly more capable of dealing with other people yet not capable of understanding most of what he thinks (at least in real time).

All told, this is a love story, and it's told as one. The awkward young Stephen bumbles when dealing with someone from the opposite sex, and then he has the curve ball of ALS thrown at him, and he responds to it in a very emotional and human way. He continues expanding his mind as his body wastes away, and strains appear between him and the woman he pursued.

Direction was very good
Acting was good
Story was compelling
Dialog was very good
Cinematography was good

Bottom Line: A very well written movie about some fascinating people.



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