The Theory of Everything follows Hawking’s relationship with his first wife and the onset of the disease that cripples him. The film starts out strong, opening with a young Hawking struggling to find a topic for his dissertation. However, as the film goes on a few problems arise. The biggest problem is that of doing a bio pic of someone still living. Just like Hawking’s real life the film goes and goes not quite finding the right place to end. While the conclusion is ultimately satisfactory it does feel prolonged. This is due to the simple fact that it can not end definitively.There is also a real disconnect between the first half of the film and the latter. This is obviously due to the progression of Hawking’s disease, but nevertheless the film does lose steam because of it.
This is not to mention the problem of having a main character who loses the ability to walk and speak well before the third act. This necessitates the shift in focus from Hawking to Jane, but her development is slow and at times boring. Hawking is where the real fun comes from, and his character is incredibly likable. Eddie Redmayne gives an amazing performance as Hawking, absolutely nailing his mannerisms and comforted appearance. His ability to give character to someone who can barely move is really well done and very moving. Felicity Jones also does a great job as Jane, but the spotlight is ultimately on Hawking. The introduction of the character of Jonathan is oddly handled as well. His motivations are unclear and his commitment is hard to understand, something I’m sure the book covers much better. Overall the Theory of Everything is a very solid film that is ultimately dragged down by the limitations of Hawking’s disease.
Final verdict: 3/5