Eddie Redmayne has won over my heart. A brutally honest performance by the actor left me with tears almost every half hour into the movie. The Theory of Everything, directed by James Marsh, tells the story of Cambridge physicist Stephen Hawking and his journey with love, science and ALS.
|Stephan meets Jane at Cambridge, and their love story begins instantly|
You don’t need to do any background reading on Stephen Hawking (plus points if you already know his story), because The Theory of Everything depicts Hawking’s trying times through some powerful scenes. Stephan Hawking himself was quoted to say that when he saw the movie he felt that Redmayne had truly become him.
|Eddie Redmayne is Stephan Hawking in the film The Theory of Everything|
Redmayne plays a quirky, nerdy and rather eccentric character of Stephan Hawking, a physics student at Cambridge trying to figure out his PhD thesis topic. He soon after makes a painful discovery that he is suffering from motor neuron disease and is given two years to live. Despite the odds, Redmayne’s character dedicates himself to studying the one thing that he has very little left of: time, and to finding the one equation that would explain everything in the universe; thus the title of the movie The Theory of Everything.
The movie centers on his search for the answer but more on his blooming romance with Jane, the love of his life whom he meets at university. Together they make it through more years than anyone expects.
|Right: Stephan and Jane Hawking’s real wedding. Left: The depiction of the wedding in the movie|
The strong character of Jane, played by Felicity Jones, rightfully proves that behind every successful man there is a woman to thank. Having never left his side either as a loving companion, a supporting wife or a courageous woman – the journey of Jane’s character develops as does Hawking’s disease.
|Felicity Jones plays the courageous character of Jane Hawking|
The movie focuses largely on significant themes of love and human relationships. The cinematography adds to the build up of these themes rather than distracting from them. Even though the main character is rooted to a chair throughout the movie, the filming captured constant movement and progression. This brought to screen the fact that Hawking’s mind was always active and alert- processing many things at once.
Even though Redmayne plays his mute character to a tee, I felt that his character was at times too cheerful given his predicament. Is it possible to seem so joyful, humorous and determined when confined to a wheelchair and voice box, as your children play around you and your wife brings in another man into the house to care for the family? It’s an odd situation. And the feeling is captured in a heart-wrenching scene when we see Redmayne forcing his senseless body to crawl up the stairs as his toddler watches him from the top of the staircase. That one moment humanises Hawking’s journey through ALS and leaves a resounding impact – possibly being the reason why Redmayne deserved the Oscar for Best Actor in this movie.
The biopic will capture your sensitivities from the get go given that it focuses on the difficulties of being physically disabled. The movie is truly inspirational, and may make you question what you want to do with your life.
Definitely take time out for this movie, Redmayne’s performance is stellar and there are many lessons to be learnt on love and time – things we happen to take for granted.
By Manaal Khalid
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