DETROIT (WWJ) – Since “The Theory of Everything” has been showing in some parts of the country already, let me start this review by saying: I’m adding my name to the list of critics giving the movie a rave review. Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones deliver award-worthy performances in their roles as Stephen Hawking and Jane Wilde Hawking. And in fact, during this year’s “Hollywood Film Awards,” Redmayne picked up the “Hollywood Breakout Performance Actor Award” for his on-point performance as the brilliant and renowned astrophysicist. While Jones didn’t pick up an award for her role, she has won accolades for her performances; among them, the Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize in 2011 for her role as Anna in the romantic drama “Like Crazy.”
“The Theory of Everything” is Stephen Hawking’s inspiring life story. It shows how he and Wilde met and fell and love, covers their wedding and the struggles they endured as a couple, and later, a family with three kids. It also shows the power of perseverance. Despite the challenges and struggles Hawking faced – starting at the age of 21 when he was diagnosed with a terminal illness and given just two years to live – he refused to give up. And Jane refused to give up on him. When, undoubtedly, it would have made her life easier to just walk away, she stood by him and together they did what many thought would be impossible.
Impossible, however, isn’t a word that Hawking believes in. Nor does Redmayne – at least when it comes to his portrayal of Hawking. If you go see this film – and I certainly hope you will – you’ll see what I mean.
For example, since “The Theory of Everything” was shot out of sequence, Redmayne had to always be prepared to portray varying degrees of Hawking’s deterioration – many times in the same day. That requires not just talent, but discipline and concentration. And, as far as talent is concerned, as Hawking’s condition worsened, Redmayne had to convey his emotions using just his eyes or a slight shift of his body. According to the screenwriter, Anthony McCarten, “every day he (Redmayne) was in some sort of stress position that he had to maintain for hours at a stretch, while still projecting and making the character emerge out of the disability.”
Redmayne’s extraordinary talent is largely responsible for making this film what it is, which is exceptionally good. At times, it seemed as if the real Stephen Hawking were up there onscreen. I also have to give kudos to McCarten (after all, without a script you don’t have a movie), Director James Marsh and, of course, Jones.
Congratulations to all!
See you at the movies!
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Detroit Film Critics Society