Monday, January 12, 2015

MINI-REVIEW: The Theory of Everything

The Theory of Everything

Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones


November 7, 2014

James Marsh

Focus Features

2 hours 3 minutes



When someone mentions the name Stephen Hawking, the first thing that comes to mind is a man in a wheelchair speaking with a computer voice.  The man has been parodied countless times, but this generation only sees him as a caricature of what he really is: a genius.  The latest film from director James Marsh, (who I am not related to per my current knowledge) "The Theory of Everything," showcases Hawking's struggle to survive from the disease that has made him the way he is today, as well as creating remarkable theories in science while maintaining a life with his wife Jane and three children.  On paper, this could have been a schmaltzy biopic made just for the sake of going out for accolades.  What Marsh has done with this film was not only tell a compelling and fascinating story about one man refusing to give up on what he has to live for, but also shows the humanity in someone who this generation has seen as nothing more than a computer, so to speak.

It takes truly talented actors to lose themselves in the roles their playing, and Eddie Redmayne does just that playing Stephen Hawking.  When an actor, a fairly recognizable one nonetheless, can transform himself into the character he's embodying, I consider that a true success in one's career.  Hawking goes through a strikingly physical transformation throughout the duration of the movie, and Redmayne captures the pain and struggle the man actually went through.  Felicity Jones also impresses as Hawking's loyal wife Jane.  Jones is fierce, stern, and all-around really powerful, making her the perfect companion to her husband.  Even if you're not a fan of the movie itself, it's hard not to admire how devoted and committed Redmayne and Jones are to their roles.

This is not the easiest of watches, as the suffering that Hawking goes through from his disease is painful to see and even imagine with the real figure.  James Marsh holds nothing back, and in return brings audiences a biopic worth checking out.  The story is engaging, the performances are stellar, and the message of never giving up is something that can inspire people to do just that.  The film is expected to take home a few Academy Awards this year, and frankly I believe it deserves every one it gets.  There have been "true story" films that have come out recently that felt forced, contrived, and not authentic in the slightest.  If you're looking for an example of how a filmmaker accurately tells a true story with the emotional core intact, then I definitely recommend "The Theory of Everything."


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