The Theory of Everything review

Director:
James Marsh
Cast:
Eddie Redmayne
Felicity Jones
David Thewlis
Harry Lloyd
Rated: PG-13

The life and relationship of world famous physicist Stephen Hawking is explored in “The Theory of Everything.”

The film begins with Hawking during his education career and follows through the discovery of his illness and eventually his well known life’s work.

Walking into this movie, the hope was that it would explore the genius of Stephen Hawking and maybe his research that supported one of his books. Unfortunately, it played out more as a standard biopic than anything. Not that biopics are bad, often times they can show what happened in a figure’s life and that was true with “The Theory of Everything.”

The problem is that, like most biopics, “Theory” eventually feels like simply a highlight reel of a person’s life. It was no doubt interesting seeing the development of Hawking’s illness and how he overcame it to continue his work.

The story of the relationship between him and his wife was also touching. The movie never has anything deeper to offer, though and it leads to a rather bland experience.

I think a better way to have done a film like this would have been more in the vein of 2012’s “Lincoln.” That movie only showcases a small, but important section of President Lincoln’s life. It displays Lincoln’s political brilliance and also who he was as a person. If “Theory” could have worked if it had been more focused and more direct.

The performances from both main leads did work nicely in the film, though.

Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of Hawking in regards to both the relationships and the illness are both commendable. It’s apparent that Redmayne did his research for the role, as his movements and mannerisms had to have been inspired by studying the real life figure.

Felicity Jones was also solid in the picture. The showing of emotion she gives in her performance made for some compelling moments. The mental strain her character has the condition of Hawking worsens is on full display thanks to the strong portrayal.

Another issue with the movie arises, though, because of the technical aspects.

There were some scenes in the movie that appeared like they were being shot through a handheld camera. It was an odd style choice, since the use of handheld cameras or even home movies is never referenced in the movie and the use of this technique didn’t particularly add anything special.

The movie could have also used some narration or a voice over for Hawking. It could have been an insight into not only what Hawking is thinking, but also a way to explore his brilliance.

Overall, “Theory” is simply a standard biopic about a monumental figure. The performances are good and the story is interesting enough to justify a low 3 out of 5 rating, but nothing beyond that as the film is just so average.

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Author: Matthew Liedke

My name is Matthew Liedke. I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, but I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I now write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead where I studied journalism and film. Outside of film, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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