#REVIEW: “THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING”
Review by David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
In the early 1960s, boy-meets-girl at a party, they lose track of each other, find each other, fall in love, and then boy gets diagnosed with a crippling disease that only gives him two years to live. Such is the True Story of Jane (Felicity Jones) and Dr. Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne), and how they persevered despite the grim prognosis.
As directed by James Marsh (Oscar-winner for the documentary Man on Wire), The Theory of Everything goes through Jane and Stephen’s lives together from his first year in university, right through his major discoveries and rapidly deteriorating health. The Film’s focus is on their lives, so there is very little emphasis on Hawking’s groundbreaking scientific discoveries. As such, it feels a bit soft in many instances, never really straying from the tried-and-true Biopic formula. This does not take away from the Film, but it never really lends it the opportunity to stand out either. Marsh makes it a bit more interesting by framing nearly every scene with a faded out haze over them, and even creates authentic, aged montages in the style of Home Movies.
Redmayne is a revelation as Hawking. Not unlike Daniel Day Lewis, Redmayne literally transforms into Hawking before our eyes. He starts off happy, with a few little nuances that creep up every so often. But as the Film progresses, Redmayne ensures we feel every change and deterioration to his body. It is a devastating, near brilliant performance that is every bit as great as you have heard, and is easily an early front-runner for a Best Actor nomination. Jones is quite good as well, playing Jane more low-key and less showy than Redmayne. We feel her exhaustion and sorrow, watching her helplessly and selflessy try her best to care for her children and Hawking himself. It is an emotionally baring performance, and one Jones is all too good at playing.
eOne Films release THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING in Toronto Friday, November 7, 2014, with additional cities to follow.