Oscar Nominee Review: ‘The Theory of Everything’
Director: James Marsh
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, David Thewlis
Plot: This film recounts the life and relationships of acclaimed physicist Professor Stephen Hawking from his time at college through his illness, losing his voice-box and becoming the recognised figure he is today.
Review: Between this and the brilliant The Imitation Game the Oscars seem to be all about the nerds this year. With the ballot set we’re going to take a look at some of the films up for the big award.
Professor Stephen Hawking is a man known to the entire world, even if they only know him as that math guy in the wheelchair. Whether you’re readily familiar with his works or not this movie will offer a new perspective. The main angle is on Hawking’s relationships with the women in his life, but regardless of the angle he’s a fascinating figure. As you have no doubt already heard leading man Redmayne puts in a show stopping performance as Hawking as a clumsy young man and through the stages of his condition without ever feeling like he’s overplaying it. The rest of the cast is solid, especially Jones as Jane, but Redmayne is the undisputed star playing the role through some drastic physical quirks.
In the same way Redmayne throws his all into the role without over playing it, the direction is creative without being flashy. Occasionally the camera is used to explain Hawking’s theories on space and time but fortunately this is restricted to when it’s relevant. The rest of the film is an exercise is restraint, holding on the well framed shots and capturing the wonderful colours of the university.
There’s an argument to be made for a greater focus on Hawking’s contribution to science rather than his personal life, but he’s got his books and papers to do that. Getting an insight into how the man lived is an extra dimension that is welcome. It never occurs to one that the American accented electronic voice box contradicts his English background. Seeing him roll around the house pretending to be a Dalek definitely adds more humanity to the public figure. The director does feel at a loss as to how to finish the story though, with a slightly jarring dream-type sequence whose message is not completely clear.
Whatever your reasons for heading in to the cinema you’ll likely come out satisfied. It’s a well thought out and well crafted film anchored by an outstanding performance.
Score: EIGHT out of TEN
Chances of Winning Best Picture: Pretty good. True story of a profound yet tragic figure, pulls the heart strings…biopics rarely get the gong but with three in the rubbing it may do it.