CAST: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Harry Lloyd, David Thewliss, Emily Watson, Charlotte Hope
DIRECTOR: James Marsh
WRITER: Anthony McCarten, Jane Hawking
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Benoit Delhomme
Humanizing the genius is not a pathetic attempt to make sense of the impossible, as long as it is done in an appropriate manner. Reducing the life of Stephen Hawking into a relationship melodrama is an altogether different case. THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING chronicles his rise in the field of physics, his struggles from a debilitating disease, and his life as a husband and father. Sort of.
Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones star as Stephen and Jane Hawking. Right down to the trembling fingers, Redmayne undertook a precise and dignified transformation to capture the famed physicist. It is indeed a commendable performance. Jones is no slouch either. From the forthright girl falling for a brilliant man to the harried woman struggling as wife and mother, she shines through the emotional metamorphosis of her character. In fact, it can be argued this film is about Jane. Other notable performances include Charlie Cox, as the choirmaster and second husband of Jane, and Maxine Peake, as the personal nurse and second wife of Stephen.
Still surprised the marriage of the lead characters ended up in separation? I find it rather curious, the filmmakers chose to market it like this because it is quite public the relationship turned sour. Further, the stories about the aftermath of the break-up is atrocious and not as encouraging as the ending. The point is, looking into the human side of the man is a noble undertaking, but probing his contributions to science is nobler. In spite of a motor-neuron disease, he put forth groundbreaking ideas about space and time. I am no rocket scientist, but I assume it takes more than cups of coffee or fireplaces to spark scientific ideas. Simplified to the core, the film abandoned science and mathematics in lieu of light bulb moments and mere coincidences. Science, at present, is under attack from all sorts of repugnant characters. Most of our political leaders dismiss scientific theories as elaborate deceptions of liberals and socialists. Imagine the impact of a great film about one of the most popular scientists, pushing the boundaries of his chosen field despite suffering from a disease — just because he can, just because he must, just because science is important.
If the filmmakers are so keen on making a domestic drama, then make a film about Jane. Majoring on Iberian Literature, she is as intelligent and as talented as her husband. Unlike her husband, she has to nurse him, take care of the children, keep a house, and still complete her thesis. Our girl is a multitasking superhero. A housewife sacrificing her educational pursuit for her genius husband is a rich and interesting material.
During its regular screening, THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING alongside INTERSTELLAR and BIG HERO 6, completed an unusual trio of films about science. The best of the three, and am dead serious, is the one featuring an adorable robot. Before it turned into another superhero ensemble, BIG HERO 6 took the audience into a fascinating ride about the possibilities of science. I needed to feel the same fascination in THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING but ended up disappointed. Cinema can inspire people; therefore substantial films about inspiring people, like scientists, are noble aspirations. The promise of science and the greatness of scientific minds should inspire future generations in order to keep the cinders of curiosities burning.