The Theory of Love
They met at a party and despite there being something nervy and unconventional about him, Jane (Felicity Jones) fell for Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne). But right away there were hurdles to deal with when Stephen was diagnosed with ALS and told he had two years to live. Despite this Jane refused to give up on Stephen and after getting married they started a family. But as time passes and both Stephen's condition worsens and his celebrity status rises due to his academic theories the strain starts to become too much for Jane especially after they hire a nurse who begins to dominate his life.
How do you make a movie about an acclaimed scientist interesting to the masses, you ignore most of the science stuff and take it down to a personal level and the love of a woman who supported him through many of the ups and downs. That is what you get in "The Theory of Everything" with Felicity Jones delivering a nuanced performance as Jane Hawking as we observe her relationship to acclaimed scientist Stephen Hawking. We go from her sheer love and devotion to the boyish Stephen through the loneliness of being his carer 24 hours a day and on to the stress of his increasing popularity combined with a nurse who you might say turned his head by delivering the fun Jane once did before things wore her down. And you do feel you have gone on this relationship journey due to the way Felicity Jones expresses Jane's emotions from emotional conflict when she becomes close to a widowed choir master to the frustration of how their marriage has become, but with that sense that she never stopped loving Stephen even when their marriage ended.
But of course whilst you have this engaging love story there is also the performance of Eddie Redmayne taking us on Stephen Hawking's own journey from being an active young man to the wheel chair bound professor and celebrity. And there is no denying that Redmayne transforms himself for the role from the contorting of his body to the slurring of the speech. But the great thing is that he doesn't lose the character when the disabilities start to dominate and as such he will deliver a look which speaks volumes as to how Stephen's playful mind works. And that is one of the marvellous things about "The Theory of Everything" as it gets across that Stephen Hawking isn't some dry academic boffin but a man with a playful sense of humour.
The one thing I will say is that I am glad that "The Theory of Everything" focuses on the relationship side of the Hawkings but I can imagine those who watched hoping to get an understanding of his theories will walk away from this with a slight disappointment. Of course it mentions those theories but it never attempts to simplify them to make them understandable for an audience who are watching "The Theory of Everything" for the love story.
What this all boils down to is that "The Theory of Everything" is a very good movie not just because of Eddie Redmayne's performance but also because of Felicity Jones' as it is her characterisation which really brings the story of their relationship to life in a touching and engaging manner.