The only way Hollywood could make this easy to understand is by focussing on relationships. By exploring the bond between world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife, it manages to make his scientific achievements easier to understand. Imparting personal and professional accomplishments, The Theory of Everything should ensure viewers aren’t too overwhelmed by scientific terminology.
In 1963, university student Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) meets fellow attendee Jane (Felicity Jones). Their courtship becomes the backdrop to Hawking’s extraordinary life. Becoming one of the top physicists of his era, not even the onset of motor neuron disease would stop his efforts. Spanning decades, their eventual marriage would be tested by the world’s attention on Hawking’s remarkable achievements.
The Theory of Everything is about two people determined to overcome odds. Despite physical ailments, Hawking continues to generate discussion about our place in the world. How he was able to do this is effectively shown by director James Marsh. Giving equal time to Jane, Marsh also highlights her importance in Hawking’s viewpoints. Her presence humanises his enigmatic genius with Redmayne and Jones successfully portraying their roles.
As part of the biographical genre, The Theory of Everything is generally satisfying. Whilst occasionally having a glossy Mills and Boon romance feel, the script does well in unravelling a multi-faceted person. Although there is superficiality to some of the character portrayals, the compression of the time-line ensures pacing never falters. The attention to detail in the initial 1960s scenes mirror the high quality for which the production strives.
Hawking’s contribution to science is incalculable. The Theory of Everything portrays his accomplishments reasonably well with personal issues just as engrossing. Even casual admirers of his work will gain much from a fascinating look at Hawking’s amazing life.
Reviewed by Patrick Moore
Rating out of 10: 7