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*Review* – The Theory of Everything

January30

Theory_of_Everything
(Disclaimer: I do not own this photo. This is the theatrical film poster for The Theory of Everything. Full ownership is Focus Features)

From the very moment that I saw the trailer, I knew I had to see this film. Within only two minutes, I was captivated by the beautiful musical score, the stunning scenery of Cambridge and the promise of inspiration. The film did not, however, meet my expectations: it exceeded them. So much that when I left the cinema, I was already arranging a time when I could go and see it again.

The essence of the film’s brilliance is undoubtedly rooted in the phenomenal prowess of both Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones as actors. Redmayne shines with a light that cannot be dimmed; he flawlessly captures the transformation from Hawking’s carefree days to when motor neurone disease had taken its toll – both physically and psychologically. Yet even amidst these significant changes, Redmayne manages to retain and successfully portray the boyish charm and wit that first won his wife’s heart. Jane Wilde’s persona vividly comes to life with Jones’ admirable acting; she poignantly epitomises the inward struggle between hope and despair. The initial romance and infatuation between Stephen and Jane is playful and heart-warming but their relationship swiftly develops into an extraordinary union where a daily determination to overcome the odds is imperative.

Although it has been noted by critics that the domestic turmoil presented in the film is fleeting and perhaps unrealistic in its relative tameness, I cannot help but applaud the subtle frustrations and the latent power struggles; the passive-aggressive way that Hawking agrees to play croquet, the unspoken significance in the moment when Wilde brings a wheelchair home, Hawking’s silent resistance to the spelling board – it is these subtleties that make the conflict presented irresistible. In keeping with this theme of subtleties, what also makes the film a success are the little, seemingly inconsequential details that produce something that is visually stunning. The way the milk in the coffee transforms into a black hole or the way the embers of the fire are made to resemble the stars; everyday things are intertwined with the idea of cosmology and it is beautiful to watch. It reminds the audience that Hawking is exceptional not only in his inspirational fight against his illness but also in his ground-breaking scientific discoveries. I also particularly liked the way in which the film interjects footage of the characters that simulates the style of a home-video; adding to this sense of daring authenticity that wonderfully permeates the entire movie.

The soundtrack of ‘The Theory of Everything’ is sublime. Redmayne and Jones do a spectacular job of portraying the incredible story of the Hawkings but where the words or expressions of an actor reach its limit in conveying inexpressible emotions, the music brings these senses to life, igniting feelings that would have otherwise remained dormant: it is effortlessly moving. Just listening to the soundtrack on my laptop at home makes me relive those moments in the film and it is like my heart is being pierced anew. My deepest gratitude and praise goes to all those involved in the production of ‘The Theory of Everything’ for communicating the difficult, complex and messy facets of relationships while evincing the simplicity of the beauty of love.

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