The Theory of Everything (2014)

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9.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 9/10

Smart biopic does follow all other similar pictures

Still a biopic with a story you already know

 
Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Theory of Everything

Studio:  Working Title Films

Genre(s):  Drama

Release Date(s):  September 7, 2014 (Toronto International Film Festival)/November 7, 2014 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

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The future is ours…or not

Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) is a gifted young physicist who has just been handed what many would consider a death sentence.  Diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), Hawking learns that he may only live two years.  With time against him, Hawking finds love with Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones) and starts an adventure into the world of science, astronomy, and physics to try to answer the question…what does it all mean?

Directed by James Marsh, The Theory of Everything is a biopic adaptation of Jane Wilde Hawking’s 2007 memoir Travelling to Infinity:  My Life with Stephen.  The film was met with positive reviews and strong box office returns.  Eddie Redmayne won the Academy Award for Best Actor for the film with nominations for Best Actress (Felicity Jones), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, and Best Picture.

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I am a physicist and don’t understand your chart…

Biopics have become the hot thing in Hollywood.  There are tons of them and they often mean lots of award nominations for their stars and their stories.  I have grown quite tired of them.  They are very formulaic and predictable since they are generally based on known figures.  The Theory of Everything does have a lot of the formula of the biopic, but the story does have some originality.

Like most “real” movie pictures, the truth of the story comes into question.  For the most part, The Theory of Everything is a bit more accurate than some of the other biopics, but many critics point out that Hawking’s personality isn’t necessarily how it is portrayed and there are some timeline issues involving the characters.

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An amazing physical transformation

What is nice about the movie is that it doesn’t follow the troubled genius storyline of many biopics.  Many of the science biopics have the character being an outcast and disliked or distrusted by the people around him.  In contrast, Hawking is likable and respected by his peers.  Hawking’s fight comes from his disease and not his scientific beliefs.

The movie is really saved by the amazing performance by Eddie Redmayne.  I didn’t love Redmayne in Les Miserables, but he is incredible here.  The body transformation of the character not only matches Hawking but a scene near the end of the movie where he “regains” his ability to walk shows how much he physically altered his body for the role.  Add to this Felicity Jones who plays a charming Jane Wilde Hawking, and you have a winner cast with a nice supporting cast.

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Well this is not what I had planned.

The movie isn’t flashy and it isn’t stylized.  The movie that is easily compared to this is A Beautiful Mind which featured another “broken” mathematician.  While I found A Beautiful Mind cheesy and poorly directed, I liked that this movie didn’t try to wow the audience with visuals…the movie has some stylization at the end of the film that fits with the story and Hawking’s theories.  It seems more appropriate to the film as a result.

The Theory of Everything is a better biopic, but it is still a biopic.  You can tell when watching it, that the producers had “Oscar” written all over the script.  It isn’t a bad thing, but it sometimes feels like a desperate grab.  Fortunately, the movie excels through its performances and little switches in the standard biopic picture format.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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