Steven Hawking once said, “no one undertakes research in physics with the intention of winning a prize, it is the joy of discovering something no one knew before.”
“The Theory of Everything,” tells of the remarkable trials and triumphs throughout the life of intellectual genius, Steven Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) and his extraordinary first wife, Jane Wilde Hawking (Felicity Jones), who was the fuel behind much of Hawking’s success.
Based on Jane Hawking’s book, “Traveling to Infinity: My Life With Stephen,” fans of quantum mechanics should prepare for a story about commitment and love above everything that made Professor Hawking into one of the most brilliant scientists of the 20th century.
The film kicks off in 1963, at Cambridge University, where a young Steven is still in his pre-PhD phase. He goes to a party with a friend and first lays eyes on Jane, who returns his gaze.
The future couple’s profound ideological difference is established instantaneously. He’s studying science and wishes to explain the workings of the universe and she’s studying Medieval poetry and is a devoted churchgoer. They say opposites attract and there’s no second-guessing the attraction that sparkles between the two. They begin a charmingly awkward courtship in which she jollies him along as he confesses his modest desire to create, “one single unified equation that explains everything in the universe.”
Redmayne and Jones’ performances soar. Most importantly, the chemistry between the two is indisputably explosive; in all stages of the characters’ lives. Redmayne and Jones inspire the screen with elegance and sophistication, reflecting a timeless tale of love and deep friendship.
But an earlier scene, in which Steven races a friend around a field shows something odd about his manner of walking. It is the first sign of motor-neuron disease. As the illness progresses, Hawking takes a bad fall in front of his residence hall.
He is expected to live no more than two years, but Jane, tougher than a British Army officer marries him and keeps him going. The couple went on to have three children.
Redmayne went on a journey of discovery and it’s safe to say, it changes his life. He trained for months how to move his body, taught himself to use just a single facial expression to communicate and memorized the order in which Mr. Hawkings muscles started to fail.
There’s acting and then there’s transformation, which literally means, “going beyond your form.” It is through Redmayne’s character exploration that the audience comes to know the legendary genius, that is Steven Hawking.
Director James Marsh comes into this project with a great track record in bold documentary filmmaking “Man on Wire” and “Project Nim,” so it’s disappointing that “Theory” is so standard.
In terms of structure, pace and development, the film flows in a storytelling convention. But even the most cynical and hard-to-please viewers will be hard-pressed to deny some of the film’s finer qualities. Delhomme gives his all in every shot: the interior shots of the Hawking household, the colorful array of fireworks on a starry night and the surgical wintriness of the hospitals.
There are so many elements that qualify someone to have lived a full life and Steven Hawking has done so extravagantly. It’s not just the challenges or limitations that define someone, it is how those challenges are overcome.
The inspiration of the film reveals through Hawking’s life, what it truly means to find the meaning of happiness and time in the universe.