Whilst no film buff like Neil Rosen I do enjoy a good biopic and I recently saw The Theory of Everything, being the life of Professor Steven Hawking. At first sight it’s rather an ambitious topic for a film. Beyond it being the theory of black holes, no one really comprehends Hawking’s works unless they have a deep understanding of physics. So the film concentrates on how a man whose body is totally broken by motor neurone disease goes onto to become one of the leading physicists of the world and best selling author. To have such a superb mind trapped within a non-functioning body does make for a captivating story and Eddie Redmayne delivers a mesmerising performance.
However the film is taken not from his standpoint but of his first wife Jane, played by Felicity Jones, who not only wrote her story but was credited in the screenplay. It is her who looks after him after meeting him at Cambridge when he was only given two years to live 50 years ago. I wonder without of course knowing the facts of their marriage was it actually like this? It may well have been as certainly she seems the most loyal of wives who deserved something better than her husband leaving her for his nurse but we don’t really have anyone else’s input here .
Eddie Redmayne with his good looks could have taken the D’Arcy route of period costume drama to stardom so its to his credit that relatively early in his career, he is still in his thirties, he took on such a difficult and challenging role. One can only imagine what it must be like to be trapped within your own body and the most successful aspect of the film is Redmayne’s representation of it.
Yet I was left hoping for something more. Thee was no effort to explain his theories aside from stating he is seeking that one encompassing equation that explains our existence. Why for example did he renounce and then accept God? I do not really like trite words like life-affirming or inspiring but I suspect that is why the picture has been so well received. I would have preferred a more rounded visualisation of Hawking beyond his illness and marriages and this was not realised.