I had a few hours spare before meeting friends for drinks the Sunday before last and decided to use that time to see The Theory of Everything in the cinema.
It’s a very difficult thing, to write a review of a biopic, especially one that is based on a biography written by the ex-wife of the film subject. So this will be less a critical review and more a series of observations, bearing in mind that the film is, to an extent, a work of fiction, despite being based on a real-life story.
Overall, I enjoyed The Theory of Everything, but the stand-out element for me has to be Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of Stephen Hawking which was just fantastic in every way. I didn’t feel like he was an able-bodied person pretending to have motor neurone disease, but rather someone genuinely living with the condition. I cannot imagine how this part could have been played any better.
For the most part, I enjoyed the way the film was shot, with that kind of magic that comes from a perfect blend of humour and tragedy. My sister commented that the trailer reminded her of The Fault in Our Stars and I guess in some ways she’s right. That combination of perfect moments of triumph and the unbearable sadness and difficulty makes for a pretty heart wrenching film. There are plenty of quotable moments as well, even just in the trailer.
The one thing that did disappoint me slightly was the way the film seemed to brush over Hawking’s scientific achievements; the focus of the story was very much on the romantic relationship between Stephen and Jane Hawking. Everything that happened came back to their relationship: his time at university, his research, his illness. Perhaps it didn’t help that the film showed nothing of his life before he met Jane, but I very much felt that the film was telling the story of them as a couple rather than necessarily the story of Stephen Hawking’s extraordinary life. (Note: this isn’t a negative thing, as such, it just went against what I expected from the film.)
Despite its flaws, Theory of Everything is an enjoyable film and, although I probably wouldn’t watch it again, I’d definitely recommend it.