The Theory of Everything | Movie review

Back a while ago, promotional campaigns officially kicked off and posters started covering walls around town but not until lately, with the increasing Oscars-related speculation, has The Theory of Everything drawn considerable attention from the media. With the 87th Academy Awards ceremony only a few days away, the debate over which movies and which stars will grab the prestigious statuettes is more heated than ever and has put The Theory of Everything even more in the spotlight. Does the movie deserve all this recognition? Are its nominations in five different categories worth of indisputable praise?

The answer is less obvious than one would expect. Truth be told, this biopic based on Jane Wilde Hawking’s memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen, isn’t necessarily an all-round winner. The movie has artistic quality but is not flawless. The biggest detraction perhaps concerns the storyline: while it makes sense that it revolves around the love relationship between Stephen Hawking and his first wife Jane, it’s still a pity that is says very little about Hawking’s role as a physicist. As far as the plot goes, the narration is also defective in that it fails to be consistent throughout the movie – the editing process having generated a rather dull sequence of scenes which is at times enlivened by some very powerful moments.

These latter are the real strength of The Theory of Everything: while everything could not be explored and still remains an unsolved mystery, the movie does however sagaciously capitalise on the intense emotions evoked by the events which the Professor and his family’s lives have been studded with. More than a factor contribute to this: the director’s decision to graphically relate the progression of Hawking’s illness (undeniably a major role-player in the story) by means of shooting many of the little signs that hinted at the bigger picture separately and in the form of detailed close-ups is definitely one that needs mention. The use of photography in these as well as other scenes enhances the gripping feeling that naturally derives from experiencing certain things.

Immediately afterwards, and most importantly, comes the ability of both protagonists to be so expressive it’s hard to tell they’re only acting a part. Redmayne’s interpretation is especially remarkable as he portrayed the physical consequences of Hawking’s disease in a really genuine way.

The Theory of Everything may not be highly informative or a freight train running steadily in the land of emotions, it is rather a rollercoaster that hits unexpectedly but when it does, it is exceedingly well done.

Verdict: ••••

The Theory of Everything was released nationwide on January 1st 2015. For further information, visit here.

Watch a trailer for The Theory of Everything

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