[REVIEW] Theory of Everything
“However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at it. While there is life, there is hope.”
Eddie Redmayne graces the big screen for the first time since Les Misérables in a breathtaking performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. His ability to convey emotion is unparalleled, and his portrayal of Hawking’s story will tug at your heart.
The movie begins with Hawking’s years at Cambridge University, where he meets Jane Wilde at a campus party in a classic but not yet worn-out case of boy meets girl. From there, they seem to gravitate towards one another, their attraction magnetic but nonetheless clumsy in the ways teenage relationships have always been. They are the perfect case of opposites attracting – a brilliant physicist and a religious language major. You will fall in love with their love story, a simple but beautiful journey that builds until the moment he gets diagnosed with motor neuron disease at the age of 21. In love and faced with the fact that Stephen was given little more than two years left to live, Stephen and Jane get married in the midst of floating white rose petals.
As a married couple, the two struggle with normal family pressures alongside the added stress of Hawking’s slow deterioration. Stephen completes his doctoral thesis on his singularity theorem, which states that the universe started as a singularity and is constantly expanding. All the while, he continues in his search for the theory of everything, an equation to explain all the forces in the world. Throughout his life, Stephen’s passion for his work is one that never falters – the complexity of time perplexes him, astrology mystifies him and he never falls out of love with physics.
Stephen fights valiantly against his inevitable physical weakness, his mind never faltering, constantly churning, plotting, inventing. He falls in and out of depression as he gradually loses his ability to walk without a cane, then to eat, then to climb the stairs, then to talk. In what is perhaps the most heartbreaking scene in the movie, Stephen struggles to pull himself up the stairs alone, silently suffering as his wife and friends celebrate his success over laughter and clinking glasses.
The movie continues to follow their story as a couple through snapshots, cutting in and out of their life at various intervals, with as much as several years spanning between scenes. Their relationship is not without its bumps and bruises – what relationship ever is? – yet at the end of the day, no two people could care about each other more.
For a movie that is so character-driven, there could not be a better cast for The Theory of Everything. The most powerful scenes are those where no words are exchanged – every emotion is so clearly written on each character’s face. Your heart will break along with Jane’s, you will smile along with Stephen and you will learn to trust that no matter the obstacles in your way, “only time, whatever that may be, will tell.”