The Theory of Everything does something very interesting with the life of Stephen Hawking. Instead of being a generic biopic that simply covers the physicist’s life, The Theory of Everything is more of a romance film. Those disappointed by that statement shouldn’t skip over this movie though, because The Theory of Everything is a very well-written romance with two incredibly strong performances from Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones.
Walking into this film expecting a straight-up biopic on Hawking’s life, I still left quite pleased. While romance films aren’t exactly my cup of tea, The Theory of Everything is handled incredibly well with the romance never getting too Hollywood (aka “cringe-worthy”).
Screenwriter Anthony McCarten was given such a great story and he does it justice. The dialogue remained entertaining even in the film’s less exciting moments and the film keeps a swift pace. Even in montages that may seem like generic Hollywood time-wasters, the story continues to develop with nothing but images of the actors and Jóhann Jóhannsson’s delightful score to tell the tale.
Speaking of the actors, this movie would be trash with two weak actors playing our two leads. And Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones do not disappoint.
Eddie Redmayne had the absurdly tough job of playing Stephen Hawking. The man had to show the disability without going too overboard (which would be so disrespectful it would kill the whole movie) and show emotion through slight facial expressions while slurring every word that comes out of his mouth.
He kills it! Redmayne does such a tremendous job here that you literally forget that he’s a perfectly healthy actor. It’s almost disturbing to be perfectly honest. How did he do that? How did he contort his body and face like that? How did he pull off the voice? While some credit goes to director James Marsh, Redmayne deserves all the praise in the world.
What also impresses is how terrific Felicity Jones is. She is so good here that she manages to steal scenes she has with Redmayne. What her character went through, having the man of her life slowly deteriorate in front of her, is unreal and Jones, just like Redmayne, never went overboard with it. When an actresses’ facial expressions do more talking than her lips and the emotion of the character comes through, that’s a pretty great performance. She may have underplayed a scene here or there, but most of the time Felicity Jones aces it.
The Theory of Everything succeeded in everything it wanted to do. It told the romance of Stephen and Jane Hawking with respect and grace. With a solid screenplay and dynamite performances from Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything is worth watching for those looking for a different kind of romance film and/or a different kind of biopic.