The Reel: The Theory Of Everything
Note: This movie critic contain spoilers
Looking from afar there is nothing exceptional about the movie The Theory Of Everything. We’ve seen it before in Forrest Gump, and I Am Sam in which the struggle of the disabled person was far more emphasized in all aspect of their lives which includes cost of care, educational accommodations, relationships, parenting, the struggle to be heard, the social stigma, and the struggle to be integrated into society. However unlike Forest Gump and Sam, Professor Stephen Hawkins was born fully able. The Theory Of Everything which was directed by British director James Marsh, and scripted by Anthony McCarten from the memoir titled Traveling to Infinity by Hawkins’ ex-wife, Jane Hawking, follows Hawkins from his healthy days as a healthy young graduate school student in Cambridge to his days as a successful physician living with full on motor neurone disease. Marshes’ film is a love story that focuses on Hawkins’ relationship with his first wife; their love story.
Marsh didn’t use Hawkin’s disease and handicap to create a pity party for him. We are not given an in depth look at how the disease affected his relationship with his friends, his parents, or his professors. In fact it seems as though nothing had changed between them. Nobody was shown trying to discourage him from pursuing his dreams, or telling him to relax and enjoy his last two years which is the amount of time the doctors told him he’ll live. There were no doubters, no Debbie downers, and no dream crushers. If you ask me it seemed a bit unrealistic. The only relationship that seemed to be affected was His and Jane’s relationship.
Jane was introduced in the first five minutes of the movie. The connection between the two happened so fast that I also found it to be unbelievable. She seemed plain and boring; a Jane Doe. When Stephen learns that he has early onset motor neurone disease, he initially pushes Jane away. She refuses, affirms her love for him, decides to marry him despite Stephen’s father warnings about how life will be like with his son; “It will not be a hard struggle; but a heavy defeat” he said. Jane affirms to Hawkin’s father that she loves Stephen and they will prevail together. And at that moment I believed in their love, and Jane Wilde stopped being a wallflower in the background and leaped to the foreground of the story. From then on it’s one heavy battle after another with the next one being heavier than the previous. You witness Jane’s burden and maturity growing through not only her frustrations and the physical work she does in a home of three children and a disabled husband, but you also see it in her intellect. The way Jane so easily and effortlessly explained her husband’s work to Jonathan the pianist displayed her vast involvement in her husband’s life. She didn’t just help him move from one place to another, or help him eat. She also helped him with his physicist work; and Physics my friends, is no easy tasks for the experts, how much more for a non-expert. I wonder what Jane was doing for herself. When did Jane tend to Jane’s affairs that did not revolve around Stephen or the children?
Stephen’s transformation was equally interesting. As he was getting physically weaker, his confidence, mental strength and will to achieve his goals appeared to grow stronger; so much stronger that at the end I barely saw a disabled person. I saw someone who didn’t let a disease control his life. Someone who had come to accept the disease without letting it control him, and render him disable. Someone who could do anything he set his mind to. A very strong able individual. Lastly it would be a crime to write or talk about this movie without mentioning the stellar performance of Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne, who won an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role. Redmayne had Hawkins’ to a T; from the clear speech, to the unclear speech, to the facial expressions and body positions, to show his struggle with speaking and expressing himself; the way he gradually started to slouch in his chair. As he got older and started to resemble the Hawkins that I know and have seen on TV, it was easy to forget that it was an actor on the screen and not the real Hawkins. Jones beautifully transformed Jane Wilde from this innocent girl to a woman who loved her husband so much that she gave up everything for him, and through that process became a resilient woman.
This movie shouldn’t be seen as a biography, it is purely and only a love story based on true facts; Outside of their relationship there are just a lot of things in the movie that doesn’t seem realistic. Overall it’s a beautiful movie with great acting, and it’s definitely worth watching.