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The Theory Of Everything—Movie Review

The Theory Of Everything—Movie Review

Everything adds up—just like a perfectly solved equation—in The Theory of Everything, which profiles
not only the formidable Stephen Hawking but his wife Jane, an impressive woman
in her own right. In fact, Anthony McCarten’s literate and empathetic
screenplay is based on her book, Music to
Move the Stars.
The British film was made with the cooperation of both
parties and their three (now-grown) children, yet it doesn’t gloss over its
subjects’ flaws or foibles. Best of all, Stephen and Jane Hawking are brought
to life with charm and credibility by two gifted actors, Eddie Redmayne and
Felicity Jones.

This is one of the best biographies I’ve seen in a long
time. It sidesteps the pitfalls of Hollywood biopics and offers a candid portrait
of a public figure whose private life and struggles make for compelling drama. We
meet the super-smart Stephen Hawking as a healthy college student and witness
both his flowering as a world-class thinker and the crushing experience of
watching his body succumb to motor-neuron disease. He and Jane Wilde fall in
love just before he experiences the first symptoms of ALS. He tries to push her
away but she refuses to back off, despite predictions that he only has two
years to live.

The raw material of this story is so powerful that even a
mediocre dramatization would command our interest, but director James Marsh
(who won an Oscar for his unconventional documentary Man on Wire), screenwriter McCarten, and the actors go above and
beyond the norm. Redmayne, whose star is understandably on the rise, captures
Stephen’s innate charm and self-effacing humor, while Jones radiates a resolve
and inner strength that is born of genuine love.

Everything about the film is first-class: Benoit Delhomme’s
cinematography, John Paul Kelly’s period production design, Johann Johansson’s
score, and the contributions of such fine actors as David Thewlis, Emily
Watson, Simon McBurney, Charlie Cox, and Maxine Peake.

For once, I wasn’t aware of time going by. The Theory of Everything held me
spellbound. 

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