Monday, November 24, 2014

The Theory Of Everything Only Covers A Very Small Fraction Of The Known Universe...

...But it feels like enough.
Given the subject matter of this Stephen Hawking biopic, it could be very easy to lose sight of the man's many great achievements in favor of his debilitating disease and some times confusing relationships. After all, the flick is based on a novel written by Hawking's ex-wife, Jane. But it seems James Marsh (director) and Anthony McCarten (writer) were intent on not allowing the disease to take over the movie. This is not My Left Foot or The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. This is Stephen Hawking. And his superior intellect cannot be ignored.
Eddie Redmayne as Hawking does a good job in losing control of his functions. But the majority of his performance seems particularly well informed by directorial decisions and camera work. Early on, Marsh managed to capture a sort of dread in the knowledge that Hawking's body was going to fail... and Redmayne's physicality hit just the right beats to create said dread. That being said,  Felicity Jones is my favorite part of this movie. Her role is a strange one, in that it's hard to understand what she's going through from most peoples' life experiences. Yet she manages to capture a truth in it all. Indeed, the role of Jane is one of a very intellectual person trapped in extremely unfair circumstances. And Jones manages to straddle those elements to perfection.
Though ultimately, The Theory of Everything is forced to focus on the human elements, it cannot be considered a let down to the scientific community. This is, after all, a film. And a pretty good one at that. Unless Hawking's discoveries could be shown firsthand in accurate CG (as Interstellar briefly attempted to do, playing with the concept of a Firewall on a Black Hole) in accordance with a story, this is the most we can get out of a Stephen Hawking movie. But don't be fooled. His accomplishments have made their way into many sci-fi films... just likely without your awareness of the man who discovered them.
I think Marsh and McCarten really managed to do something special here, however unrelated to the science it may be. These guys are able to show a relationship of trust and understanding... and when the going gets really tough, and the couple in question gets tested to their limits... they also show just how conscientious and honest such an intelligent couple could be. Sometimes, knowing it's time to go... and figuring out how to do so amicably is just as crucial to happiness as figuring out how to get into it in the first place.
So, while The Theory of Everything may not be my favorite film of the year, it really does manage to impress. I'd say it's worth a watch.

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