“The Theory of Everything” is a fascinating, often inviting biographical tale of famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. It is primarily a telling of his courtship and marriage to his first wife, Jane. In a secondary sense, it is somewhat shorthand view of his academic and professional scientific accomplishments. In the end, it shows Hawking as a wheelchair bound cad.
The film depicts how Hawking and his wife first met. It is a tentative, somewhat clumsy beginning that manages to evolve into a marriage, even though by then Hawking has received his devastating diagnosis of motor neuron disease. Eddie Redmayne as Hawking is a sure bet for an Oscar nomination. And so is Felicity Jones as his unfailingly patient and devoted wife. Both portray the delicate transitions of their characters over time with brilliant sensitivities. Redmayne’s performance is in the same vein and caliber of Daniel Day-Lewis in “My Left Foot,” but not as revealing.
“The Theory of Everything” demonstrates that even scientists can become rock stars, as Hawking’s celebrity expands globally. The story of Stephen and Jane is very appealingly told, without too many overtly personal insights. I am told both Hawking and his wife had final say as to what was in the script, which explains how this difficult story seems somewhat sanitized.
This motion picture is a near perfect couples movie. There are some inspirational elements and some very telling aspects of a very unique marriage. But mostly, it is the story of the life and times of Stephen Hawking, who was able to unwrap the mysteries of the universe without ever recognizing the true nature of some of the mysteries of his own mind and life.