Film Review: “The Theory of Everything” (2014)



I am afraid that limiting myself to six hundred words instead of six thousand to tell you about the mesmerizing film “The Theory of Everything” is going to be almost impossible. Many films have impressed me recently, but none made me feel being part of the story as much as this film. I actually felt the pain of Jane Hawking (Felicity Jones) and her desperate desire to look after her husband – Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne), to do everything possible to make him feel better. One could argue that the film is about Stephen Hawking, but I see it differently. I see the real story – real life experience, from which we learn that patience is all a woman needs to prove that the man who has been given only two years to live, can live much longer than anyone could expect! That is the story of Jane Hawking – the theory of turning impossible to possible.

Stephen Hawking is a charming and brilliant man – a theoretical physicist and cosmologist. He meets Jane at his friends’ party. They immediately fall for one another. We are introduced to a very healthy and ambitious young man, until the moment, when he is diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the age of 21. Stephen is given only two years to live. But Jane, being so much in love with him, ignores that and is ready to spend with him her whole life or at least as much time as he has left. Her love, willingness to sacrifice her youth to look after the man she loves desperately and most importantly – her strong spirit enable Stephen to live much longer than he could have ever expected.

I could talk about every scene all day long or break them into pieces and analyze every single line delivered by the leading actors. But even this would not be enough to describe how great Redmayne and Jones were.  We are first introduced to Redmayne’s 21-year-old Stephen and there is nothing about him that would give a hint to his upcoming disease. However, Redmayne’s performance, his strong intuition, as well as his ability to transform into a character 101%, allows us to see it coming. Soon after his diagnosis the sparkle in his eyes disappears, leaving the young man hopeless and in very critical condition. Redmayne delivers an incredible performance – masterfully portraying Hawking as no one else could. It is indeed hard to imagine how the actor prepared himself for this very difficult role.

Felicity Jones portrays Jane Hawking – an incredibly strong, smart and determined woman. She is willing to fight the doctors to help the love of her life live as long as possible – as long as she has the energy to keep on struggling. I know no words to describe her lifelong dedication – other than truly pure love. Jones portrays Jane as a very kindhearted person. Those two years given to Stephen to live turn into three decades. Despite his illness, the couple has three children.

To me the most incredible part of Jones’ performance of Jane – a woman, who in the beginning gives so much energy caring for Hawking – is how later in the story she makes us feel that it becomes a duty for her. Her eyes no longer shine and the happiness fades from her face. All we see is the struggle of a woman, who has buried her hopes and expectations for her own life in a place, where they can never be found. This is what makes “The Theory of Everything” so painful to watch. Because however the director James Marsh translates Jane Hawking’s book and Anthony McCarten’s screenplay, it is still Jane’s real-life experiences that are so much more difficult than anyone can imagine.  And Jones makes it so evident in her performance that it will, no doubt, become one of the best performances delivered in modern cinema.

“The Theory of Everything” is undoubtedly one of the best biopics ever made. It is an emotional and interesting telling of the life of Stephen Hawking and how a broken body could not break a brilliant mind. The film tells of hope and that one can’t achieve anything unless they truly believe in it, unless they have hope. It also tells about how important it is to be patient with the one you love, especially when they are in a state where only hope can save them.

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