The Theory of Everything (2014)

The Theory of Everything
Director: James Marsh
Writer: Anthony McCarten
Based on: Jane Wilde Hawking‘s autobiography
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Harry Lloyd, David Thewlis, Emily Watson, Christian McKay, Simon McBurney, Maxine Peake
Seen on: 06.01.2015 [cornholio suggested I add that info to my posts, let me know what you think.]

Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) is a brilliant, but a little aimless physics student who not only spends his time studying, but also having fun with his friend Brian (Harry Lloyd). During one of their outings he meets Jane (Felicity Jones) and they fall in love. But then Stephen is diagnosed with an illness said to kill him in a very short time. Supported by Jane, he takes up the fight to survive and finish his studies and surpasses all expectations – not only regarding his health, but also his scientific accomplishments.

The Theory of Everything is a nice film, but it is so completely paint by the numbers, that it is also boring. It never does anything really wrong, but there is also nothing that really makes it stand out.


The Theory of Everything feels like a film where everybody involved studied a very long and very good theoretical textbook about their part in the process and followed it to the letter in action. The result isn’t bad, far from it, but it is missing some spark, some originality, or maybe more accurately some audacity. Instead with every frame of the film you can basically see the award calculations that went on behind the scenes.

This is especially apparent with Eddie Redmayne. I don’t mean to say that he doesn’t do a good job. In fact, especially how he manages to capture Hawking’s frail physicality later-on is quite astounding. But it is also gimmicky and sometimes it feels like the entire film reduces his performance to that physical thing (just like Nicole Kidman’s performance in The Hours was reduced to her fake nose).

thetheoryofeverything1I won’t pretend that I didn’t enjoy the film. I didn’t mind watching it, I could empathize with the characters – with both Jane and Stephen, which is not that easy to pull off in a story that is, in the end, about a marriage that fails -, and I was emotionally invested. As I said, the film is well made and the soundtrack by Jóhann Jóhannsson really knows how to guide you through the film.

I just think that there could have been more to it if it had dared to move away from the tried and tested format. More bad things, yes, certainly. But also more good things.

thetheoryofeverything2Summarizing: It’s fine.

4 thoughts on “The Theory of Everything (2014)

  1. Can’t argue with the fact that it was completely by the numbers, and occasionally also felt calculated. But for whatever reason – maybe it was the performances, the nice flow of the movie, the stylish direction, the emotive score… or all of the above – it mostly worked for me. Pretty much the only thing I didn’t like was the “punishment from god”-like intercutting of Janes (possible) adultery with Stephens seizure. And they could have emphasized Stephens accomplishments – and his importance for modern science – a little bit more. Other than that, I felt that it was a wonderful, lovely tribute to one of the most remarkable human beings ever, as well as his courageous wife.

    • It also worked for me, it just doesn’t leave a very lasting impression, I think, and I would have loved an approach that was a little riskier. It might have failed more than the film we got, but at least it wouldn’t have been so predictable.

      Oh, and I completely agree about that scene with Jane and the seizure. That was completely unnecessary.

  2. Pingback: The Imitation Game (2014) | kalafudra's Stuff

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