Directed by the English director James Marsh, «The Theory of Everything» is a true story that traces the course of the relationship between Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne), a famous English physicist, and his wife Jane (Felicity Jones). Together they face the various challenges of the everyday life, in addition to coping with Stephen who is suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The film is primarily based on his love relationship that is completely trivial since it has been seen more than a million times in the cinema. Despite the arrival of several changes, including Stephen’s disease, which by the way is rushed so quickly that it’s hard to feel anything, the film is barely interesting.
What bothers me is not that the story is a romantic one, the problem here is that it was necessary to ensure that the characters and situations were not huge clichés, used and re-used for several decades. Unfortunately, that is the case here. A counter example of a good movie dealing with math and romance is «Will Hunting» by Gus Van Sant, a brilliant film.
Nevertheless, between the characters and the situations, the main problem is most likely the actors playing real itinerant caricatures. The most appalling and most explicit example is Stephen Hawking’s character himself.Despite the masterful interpretation of Redmayne, Hawking is presented as a gifted-nerd-teacher’s pet, which then becomes a poor handicapped man for which we unfortunately feel more pain than admiration. A thing the film clearly should have avoided, in my opinion, is that it isn’t helped by Redmayne’s interpretation.
In fact, who cares that Stephen Hawking is sick? Basically this is not what matters, it is not the reason why he is known. This man is incredible because he has demonstrated intelligence, strength and an incredible self-abnegation by being recognized as one of the greatest geniuses of his generation, despite his illness.
But the film doesn’t seem to care about that. During the 2 hours of the film, Hawking’s theories are explained for 15 minutes maximum. The plot is instead focused around Hawking’s pain, a pitiful love triangle, and messages about time and the relationship between religion and science, which is still close from none-existing due to the prominent love story.
The movie is being extremely supported by the staging and the music from a classicism that is close from ridiculous: between «tearful» scenes accompanied with pianos or violins and scenes of souvenirs shot in Super 8, it is a cliché at its best.
In short, if you like Stephen Hawking or if he interests you, read his books. Don’t waste time on a film that contains less interesting content than Hawking’s Wikipedia page.