“… However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope.” –Stephen Hawking
This is something Stephen Hawking not only said but continues to live by every day of his life. In his early years at Cambridge University his future seemed brighter than most. In subjects that many struggled with, he appeared to simply understand. Whatever the topic he had an answer; that is until one day he came up against his toughest challenge he would ever face, Motor Neuron Disease (Otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS). Given a life expectancy of only two years his bright future seemed to burnout overnight. Through perseverance, and maybe even a bit of stubbornness, he adapted to his new way of life and continues to push the boundaries of our understanding of the universe. His theories are not always popular, but neither was the idea that we are in fact not the center of the universe. He pushes the envelope of theoretical physics to this day at the sprightly age of seventy-two, despite being given a death sentence over fifty years ago.
According to this film a large part of his resolution, despite moments of feelings of pure defeat, came from the unwavering support of his girlfriend and future spouse, Jane Wilde. Given multiple warnings about what exactly her future looked like if she stayed with Hawking, she acknowledged them and denied anything but a life with Hawking whom she had fallen in love with. Their love was strong and very apparent. Finding strength within themselves they faced a level of adversity that would cause most to crumble in fear, and they did so with elegance and absolute fortitude. Even with his daily deterioration the married couple went on to have three children. She loved her husband with everything she had, but the demand for constant care eventually proved to be too much and they divorced. However, they remained friends and rejoiced in their greatest creation, their children.
A large focus of the movie is on his research and theories in physics. The film also shows what his life became after such devastating news. While all of this is of course profoundly important in shaping who he is today, I believe the true heart of this story is the love these two people had for one another. He would not have lived if it weren’t for her, and she would have never known what strength she really had inside of her had she never met Stephen. Each shaped the other’s life in unexpected and amazing ways. Even though they faced seemingly insurmountable odds, through their bond and devotion to one another they found purpose and reason. With a tremendous cast this powerful story of love and hardship comes to life with a real heartbeat felt by anyone that is willing to watch such a beautiful story unfold.
Eddie Redmayne plays the prolific Professor Stephen Hawking and his performance is nothing short of award worthy. From the mannerisms of the Professor to his debilitated and contorted body, Redmayne sells this role with such control and, most importantly, believability. His counterpart Felicity Jones plays Jane Hawking and matches Redmayne’s abilities flawlessly. Each complements the other brilliantly. The compatibility is there and so the love portrayed on screen is palpable and feels authentic. Yes, it’s a love story but it’s in the details of their lives that make this something more than a silly romance film to take your significant other to. It shows true adversity and the unwillingness to simply lie down and die. To continue on like they did is nothing short of fascinating. A man whose thoughts were always of worlds and galaxies far beyond imagination, it was a disease that kept him reluctantly grounded; physically at least. Because of technology his thoughts and theories can be heard and debated for centuries to come. Had it not been for the love he found in Jane, he may have never changed the world as we know it.
I’m sure many parts were exaggerated but regardless, this is a heartwarming and powerful film. I enjoyed their story, the performances, and the writing. The pristine cinematography allowed me to watch their life as it may have actually been. I believe this is a film for anyone that wants a great story and delightful characters which The Theory of Everything has plenty of.
Rated PG-13 For: some thematic elements and suggestive material
Run Time: 123 minutes
After Credits Scene: None
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, David Thewlis, Simon McBurney
Directed By: James Marsh
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 5/ Acting: 5/ Directing: 4/ Visuals: 3.5
OVERALL: 4 Nerdskulls
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