The Theory of Everything

Rated: PG

               I’d like to tell you about a film that recently won many awards and acclaim, The Theory of Everything. I’ve long been a fan of Stephen Hawking’s work. Admittedly, I haven’t read any of his books, but I try to catch every show he’s a part of, even if I don’t fully understand what he’s talking about. It’s no secret that Hawking has ALS, has since he was 21 and at that time was given only 2 years to live. What really drew me into wanting to see The Theory of Everything was that I really didn’t know much more about him. It’s obvious that he’s brilliant and very disabled, but of course there had to be more than that. And so one snowy evening, armed with popcorn and curiosity, my husband and I finally watched it.
The Theory of Everything is based on the book “Traveling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen” by Jane Hawking. It covers the story of Stephen and Jane’s marriage, from their courtship when he was first diagnosed to their subsequent divorce in 1995.
        I knew as soon as the credits were rolling that Eddie Redmayne would win the Oscar for his performance as Hawking.  Redmayne spent months leading up to the filming working with ALS patients and choreographers to get the mannerisms down and his hard work definitely paid off. Hawking, after attending a private screening of the film said, “
I thought Eddie Redmayne portrayed me very well in The Theory of Everything movie. He spent time with ALS sufferers so he could be authentic. At times, I thought he was me.” I don’t think there’s any higher praise than that!
        Unfortunately that’s where my praise for this movie ends. To begin with, there were several omissions that I think took away from the authenticity of the film. For instance, Stephen Hawking is known to be a funny guy and have a great sense of humor. I mean, why else would he have made several appearances on
The Simpsons and one on The Big Bang Theory if that weren’t true? In the movie though he’s very serious throughout and only cracks one joke towards the end. Also, I know this is supposed to be the story of Stephen and Jane’s life together, but they left out how he was able to keep working and what Jane was up to when he was at work. At the beginning of the movie they state the year, 1963, but they never mention it again, making the progression of events a guessing game.
        And then there was the portrayal of Jane. I know that both Stephen and Jane have stated that they love the movie and think it’s wonderful, but if I were her I’d be furious with the filmmakers. My impression of her by the end of the film was that she’s a cold-hearted and self-centered woman who only married Stephen after his diagnosis because he only had 2 years to live and she certainly didn’t sign up for anything longer than that. In actuality, that’s not the case. His disease and disability brought immeasurable hardship to both of them and although they’re now divorced, she still loves and cares deeply for him.

          I know it sounds like I hated this movie, but that’s not true. I just didn’t find it to be as deeply moving and profound as everyone said it was. Is it worth seeing? Yes. Is it worth buying and watching over and over again? Probably not.

The Theory of Everything is rated PG 13, was directed by James Marsh and stars Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones and Charlie Cox. It’s available now on Blu Ray, DVD and digital download.