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Mainstream Chick with Greta Gerwig @Middleburg

The Theory of Everything

theory_of_everything_PosterThe Theory of Everything is an unusual love story. It is adapted from the autobiography of Jane Wilde, physicist Stephen Hawking’s first wife, who met him while he was working on his thesis about time at Cambridge in the early 60s. Despite finding that he had a motor neuron disease (ALS, as in the ice bucket challenge) that the doctors predicted would kill him within two years (it didn’t,) the two married, had several children, and attempted to lead a “normal life,” that is if one of the most brilliant people on earth who cannot speak or move without aid can be said to ever have a normal life. The film covers about 15 years time as he becomes world renowned and as their marriage disintegrates. No doubt Eddie Redmayne (Les Misérables) will be getting some Oscar love for his physical transformation into the wheelchair bound Hawking. It is a great performance in a good film.

The flaw for me with the movie it is that for such a genius, Hawking’s brilliance does not really show up on the screen. The audience is given only snippets of the science, and though I realize most of us mere mortals could not possibly grasp the physics that he was able to theorize, the film seemed to want to concentrate more on the domestic travails than the life’s work of the man who we are all there to find out about. theory Not that the story of a woman who becomes the caregiver and cheerleader to the man she loves is an undeserving story. And perhaps it is because it’s told from her perspective rather than his that the film feels a bit lacking. Which is not to say it is boring. It just feels safe.

Though Redmayne is getting most of the accolades, the rest of the cast also pull their weight quite well. Felicity Jones is very good as Jane, and Charlie Cox gives a sweet performance as Jonathan, a handsome widower who comes to help out and has an eye for Jane. The script could have been more daring, maybe deviating from the biography to add more about Hawking, but it is a film worth seeing. Hawking gave it his approval, so who am I to quibble? So go see it and pick up a copy of A Brief History of Time afterwards and get your dose of science from the man himself.

1 Comments

  1. Hannah Buchdahl, January 19, 2015:

    I (Mainstream Chick) finally watched this one as well – because I adore Eddie Redmayne, and I wanted to be more informed before the Oscars. It’s definitely an interesting story – and worth seeing – but it moves a bit slow – which may or may not be ironic for a movie that revolves in part around theories of time and space. It’s a ‘good’ movie – with ‘great’ performances. I’m leaning toward Eddie for that Best Oscar nod… though it’s gonna be a tough category. Wouldn’t be terribly surprised if Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game) and Redmayne cancel each other out. Too much brilliance for one category!

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