MOVIE REVIEW: The Theory of Everything

theoryofeverythingWhen I heard the buzz about the movie The Theory of Everything, I expected that the movie making would be less conventional. But it’s just a standard romantic biopic of boy meets girl/boy and girl fall in love/boy discovers he has ALS and has two years to live/boy and girl get married anyway/they live happily ever after (for a while).

The “boy” is astrophysicist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne from the movie Les Misérables), who will eventually become one of the most famous scientists in the world, and author of the bestseller A Brief History of Time. The “girl” is fellow Cambridge student Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones), an unlikely pair.

Jane: So, I take it you’ve never been to church?
Stephen: Once upon a time.
Jane: Tempted to convert?
Stephen: I have a slight problem with the celestial dictatorship premise.

Great physical transformations have taken place so often in film that I think this one by Redmayne may be underrated. Yet I think the greater evolution takes place with Jones, who, over a thirty-year period, convinces the viewer of the joys and tribulations of living and dealing with someone so physically limited, yet so intellectually stimulating.

Perhaps the story, based on Jane’s memoir Travelling to Infinity, feels a tad formulaic, though occasionally quite funny. But the acting, including Charlie Cox, Maxine Peake, and Simon McBurney, who I was unfamiliar with, and David Thewlis and Emily Watson, who I’ve watched for years, is solid.

The Wife and I were glad we saw it, as usual, at the Spectrum Theatre in Albany.
One of the questions the film did NOT address was How Has Stephen Hawking Lived to 70 with ALS?
In the year-in-review stories, it’s fascinating how the ALS ice bucket challenge became a viral storm.

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