Theories on Theories

You know you're reaching Oscar bait season when the biopics roll around! So who has the honor of being the subject of the latest biopic du jour to be buzzed about? The answer would be Stephen Hawking in the Theory of Everything. The trailer presented an elegant film, so how did the actual film measure up? The results are very admirable...just not very embraceable.

One thing that's helpful to know when seeing the film about the courtship and marriage of Stephen Hawking to Jane Wilde is that it's actually an adaptation of Jane's book...not Stephen's. So if you go in thinking you're gonna understand the depths of Stephen Hawking's scientific theories and who he is down at the core, it's just not gonna happen. It's too bad they didn't just set the film completely from her point of view. I think it would have given the film a bit more honesty in knowing whose lens we're seeing these events through...and it would have set it apart from the typical biopic. As it is, the film keeps you at arms length from knowing these people. We see their lives and the difficulty of a man deteriorating from ALS, along with a wife who has to deal with the effects of her husband's unexpectedly longer life...but we never actually KNOW them. We simply are observers. Luckily the observations are extremely well acted...which is the real reason to see this film.

The film itself may not be Oscar worthy...but Eddie Redmayne's performance most definitely is. He really becomes Stephen Hawking and it is quite incredible to see. He inhabits his physical transformation so well, you really believe it's happening to him. Besides the physical, he also knows how to play the emotional when his depression hits. It is no doubt one of the best performances of the year. Felicity Jones as the other lead is solid... but never really blows you away like you'd wish.

But despite the things that lack here and there, that doesn't mean The Theory of Everything doesn't have its moments of greatness. In addition to Redmayne's performance, the film boasts some fantastic cinematography and a beautifully poignant ending. In the end, it's a good movie that could have been great. EMILY RATING: 7.5/10


Joey said...

I do think that the third person pov distances us from the characters.

As I said, perhaps we don't really know SH any better because she never knew him herself.

You summed it up that it was good when it could have been great. The performances are amazing, but again from an outward point of view. We see his body changes but not soul.

Sarah said...

Hmm. Too bad this one couldn't have lived up to the preview of it that you shared earlier. I wonder who he will be up against come Oscar time.