I didn’t know much about Stephen Hawking besides that he’s a genius on some sort of level. When the first trailer of The Theory of Everything came out, I wasn’t that interested in seeing a biography about a genius I don’t know much about. But after seeing the trailer and did some research about the man, I changed my mind completely. I was completely overwhelmed by the trailer and the short performances in it by Eddie Redmayne. It’s therefore no surprise I wanted to see the film and now I have!
After seeing the film, I thought it was no wonder Eddie Redmayne got an Oscar for best ‘Lead Actor’. His performance as Stephen Hawking was brilliant. The most impressive thing, was how he showed the decay of his body due to his illness. Hawking is a genius in a disabled body, but despite of all that he really lives his life to its fullest. He has a career, a family and friends. He also has learned a way to communicate. I thought it was amazing that the film writers used Hawking’s memorable speech:
“There should be no boundaries to human endeavor. We are all different. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope.”
In short, The Theory of Everything is about the life of the famous British physicist Stephen Hawking played by Eddie Redmayne. How is illness, ALS, affected his career and love life. The film is based on the memoirs “Travelling to Infinity: My life with Stephen”, which is written by his ex-wife Jane. In the film Felicity Jones portrays the religious Jane Wilde who falls in love with Stephen in an instant. When they find out Stephen has ALS, they decide to make the most of it: They marry and have children. But because of Stephen’s great mind he stays working and continues doing research and above all he doesn’t die in those two years the doctors gave him.
The most interesting part, is how Hawking’s illness is shown to the audience. It starts with just a trembling hand and it eventually ends in a situation where he needs a wheelchair, fulltime nurses and a machine for communication. I really think Redmayne did a brilliant job in portraying each phase of this sickness in a credible way. You also really notice the deterioration in his condition, looks and speech and how this all affects his wife Jane. Even after he has lost his speech, you did see so much emotion on Redmayne’s face. Also Felicity Jones did a great job in portraying Jane Hawking in a credible way. I felt very sad for her at some points. It’s a sad thing when you get ALS but what does it mean for your life partner? Jane took it the best way a wife can by loving, supporting and taking care of her husband. But it’s a hard job and even harder when you also have children to take care off. Because of her mother, Beryl Wilde (Emily Watson), Jane decides to return to the choir and give her children music lessons. As a result she meets Jonathan (Charlie Cox) who’s a great asset for the family. When Jane is no longer able to take care of Stephen herself, she hires a nurse: Elaine Mason (Maxine Peake). From the start I thought she was an interesting woman. She’s a nurse so she knows how to ‘deal’ with patients but she’s really good in her job! At the same time I felt sorry for Jane, because it looked like she already was replaced.. Besides all this sadness, there was also a lot of beautiful scenes. The part where they meet and go the ball and the final scene.
The film’s score, by Jóhann Jóhannson, makes some scenes even more sad and so brought some tears to my eyes. During the final scene, where Stephen ‘wines back the clock’ , we hear the beautiful “Arrival of the Birds”. This song fits perfectly with that scene, it’s both beautiful as it is moving. I might not understand everything about the science part of the film, but I do understand that it’s very important stuff and it really fascinates me. I might buy a book about black holes and stuff! 😉
I think the great lesson from this film is that you should always enjoy life and accept it as it is. Stephen Hawking’s speech is a truly memorable one! There were also some funny moments in the films, which also show that how bad life can be, find something that make you happy and smile.