Movie Review: The Theory of Everything

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The Stephen Hawking most people know is the man he is now. In The Theory of Everything the focus isnt on what he’s become but his early adult life before his diagnosis and before he met his first wife Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones). Based on the book written by Jane its more of an intimate look of the man not the legend.

Stephen hawking writing on a chalkboard

Focus Features

Stephen is portrayed by Eddie Redmayne and The Theory of Everything begins in 1963 while he’s a student working on his PhD. At a party he catching the eye of Jane. While his pursuit of her is rather unorthodox he eventually learns he has to chase her a bit and captures her heart at the Spring ball. Its some time after that he finds out about his illness and his world comes crashing down. He shuts out Jane but she refuses to walk away. Even with a prognosis of only 2 years to live she stays by his side and becomes his wife.

theory of everything Stephen and Jane's wedding photo

Focus Features

The Theory of Everything does of course give you some small glimpses into his mind and his quest for proving theories. Even so its still not about how brilliant he is or the scientific advances he’s pioneered its about his relationship with Jane and how his illness takes its toll on his marriage. Jane is not portrayed as a saint, when we get to the 70’s and her relationship with Jonathan (Charlie Cox) an organist at her church. Stephen’s desire to not have a home nurse and to leave all care giving to Jane makes it just as much her story as his. The arc of her relationship with Jonathan which was platonic for years but he she did eventually marry takes up a bulk of the middle of the film. Its about Jane and Stephen’s marriage and the bonds that hold them together. When Stephen does finally relent and allow a real nurse Elaine (Maxine Peake) who becomes his 2nd wife the pain Jane feels is very real even though she and Stephen both know the writing is on the wall. 30 years of marriage and 3 children is a long story and there’s a lot to put in there.

The Theory of Everything is a wonderful film. Its so much more about the people then just one. Stephen Hawing’s life has ripples and the way it affects those around him are so well put on the screen here. While there’s some poetic license taken in the order of some of the events of Jane’s life and her choices leading to her relationship with Jonathan, its still not about the science. Its very clear this is a love story that doesn’t necessarily have a happy ending but shows the things 2 people who love each other are willing to do, Jane’s tireless care taking is emphasized just as much as the part when Stephen puts a passage about the possible existence of God in order to give his wife a gift. We all know he’s an atheist so its more of the choices we make for our partners in the name of love.

My Rating: Full Price
Director: James Marsh
Studio: Focus Features
Release Date: limited released
Run time: 2 hours 3 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13