My Theory on ‘The Theory of Everything’
“However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at.While there’s life, there is hope.” ~ Stephen Hawking
New Year is the time when many of us start contemplating what life has in store for us – what we will achieve; what hurdles we will overcome.
Stephen Hawking is an extraordinary and inspiring man who has dealt with life’s curveballs and achieved all his goals, by maintaining his self belief. He is the eternal optimist.
Remarkable, poignant and uplifting, a film based on his life, ‘The Theory of Everything’ is released this New Years’ Day and is set to become one of the films of 2015.
Starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, the film is adapted from Jane Hawking’s memoir ‘Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen’. It charts their first meeting as students at Cambridge University and their relationship over the next 30 years.
Aged just 21, Stephen was diagnosed with motor neurone disease and was told he had two years to live. An ever defiant Jane vowed to stand by Stephen no matter what. A brilliant mind in her own right, she dedicated herself to Stephen, their marriage and family. Together they defied impossible odds, breaking new ground in medicine and science.
From the physical contortions of Hawking’s body to effervescence glint in his eyes, Redmayne simply transforms himself in this film. He inhabits the role with such commitment that at times I forgot I was watching an actor and not Hawking himself. Its a faultless and compelling performance, one which will most certainly see him walk away with a handful of awards this season.
Not to be overlooked though is Felicity Jones. It is an understated but captivating portrayal. Having met Jane myself, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that Jones captures her fragility and strength in equal measure. From the candid scene between Jane and Stephen when he rejects her after his diagnosis; to the subtlety of pauses and glances between the pair when Stephen ends their marriage – Jones shows great maturity as an actress.
Aside from the love story, the film also details Hawking’s scientific theories, particularly that of time. Time has always been a subject of fascination to Stephen Hawking: when the universe began, when it will end, and all points in between. The renowned professor’s book ‘A Brief History of Time’ has sold over 10 million copies worldwide. The director, James Marsh, plays beautifully with the sense of time throughout his film. Subtle motifs, such as the swirling milk in espresso to the winding spiral staircases, reinforce the concept of the ultimate timelessness that drives Hawking’s discoveries.
Before watching this film, the image I had of Stephen Hawking was as a brilliant astrophysicist. I never thought of him as someone’s father or husband nor did I know what a personality lie behind the genius. I was so moved by this film, the final scene was notably uplifting. This film is a honest examination of love and dedication. Stephen would have never achieved what he did in his life without Jane by his side. She loved him so we made the sacrifices it took, to help him achieve his dreams. As the screenwriter, Anthony McCarten so perfectly surmises “this film is as much about the physics of love as it is about the love of physics.”
‘The Theory of Everything’ out on DVD
Review by Lisa Douglas