The Theory of Everything Movie Review
The Theory of Everything is about a man in a wheelchair. To be more accurate, it’s about a genius in a wheelchair, a man who can outsmart nearly all of us, but who aslo has had to overcome more adversity than… well, nearly all of us. The Theory of Everything is about Stephen Hawking, and it is one of the best movies of 2014.
The Theory of Everything maps the physicist’s life from the moment he met Jane to modern day. Despite following a conventional biopic formula, the movie manages to avoid coming off as just another generic biopic—in part because the subject is so unique, in another because he isn’t an artist and doesn’t succumb to drugs and disease, and in yet another because director James Marsh executes the material so well.
The Theory of Everything is beautifully shot and expertly directed, bringing to life a pretty extraordinary story. If it has one major fault it is that the science gets put to the backburner—while the movie didn’t need to be overburdened by Hawking’s theories and formulas, it rarely dives deep into the subject’s mind. Given that the film is based on a book by Hawking’s first wife, Jane Hawking, it’s understandable that the science is given the backburner to their relationship, but the science is what Hawking is known for.
Still, the movie is fantastically done, largely thanks to the superbly written characters and the actors who bring them to life. Eddie Redmayne (Les Miserables) is downright brilliant and well deserving of an Oscar nomination, if not the statue itself. He embodies the role and manages to depict Hawking in a way few actors could. Matching him step for step is Felicity Jones (Like Crazy), who turns in an incredible performance as Jane.
The movie stumbles ever so slightly toward the end as Marsh attempts to wrap everything up while shifting the story into modern day. Two or three small scenes could have been cut to make the transition to the closing credits more seamless, but the missteps are minor.
The Theory of Everything is a wonderfully made and extraordinarily acted movie that is all but guaranteed to garner multiple Oscar nominations. It may even wheel itself to victory in some of the categories.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.