For as long as I can remember, I have greatly admired the work of Stephen Hawking. This is a man that has shaped the world, despite all the challenges he has faced. His relationship with his wife Jane hasn't been easy and James Marsh's beautiful biopic The Theory of Everything so perfectly, and honestly, captures this.
As I mentioned, I've always respected Hawking and his work. On top of that, I'm a big fan of Eddie Redmayne, who portrays the scientist in this, and of Felicity Jones, who takes on the role of his wife - Jane Hawking. If you put the pieces together, you'll see that I was rather excited for this. I went into this expecting your average love story but it's so much more.
Releasing on January 1st, this is one of the year's first films and, already, has set the bar high for forthcoming films in the genre and just for films in general this year, I think. Normally, at this time of year, you wouldn't expect films to so wonderful but this is and it's just in time for Award season too because I think it could be eyeing one or two Oscars.
The story follows Redmayne as Hawking, beginning with him in his university years. At a party, he bumps into Jones' Jane where, shy at first, the two become close. After a nasty accident, Stephen soon learns that he has motor neuron disease and is expected to die within 2 years time so decides to shut Jane out of his life. However, after a game of croquet and Jane insisting that she wants to be with him - despite knowing that she will lose Stephen - the two stand by one another and, soon after, get married.
Jane stands by Stephen, who's illness begins to worsen as he slowly starts to lose little abilities like movement, balance and even speech. However, he's still alive after 2 years, despite how he was supposed to have died, and goes on to have two children. His work also begins to take the spotlight and goes on to get recognition too but, ever so minutely, Jane starts to lose her cool.
So, to try and keep her toes on the ground as much as possible, filling her free time, she decides to join the church choir. There, she meets and befriends Jonathan, who begins to lend a hand to Jane and her family, becoming close to them and to Stephen too. But, when he develops feelings for Jane he decides to take a step back from them. However, it's not enough and, soon, he is out with Jane and the kids out camping whilst Stephen is in America. Going into coma there, Stephen loses his ability to speak and that's when it begins to get too much for Jane.
First and foremost, the acting in this is outstanding! Both Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne are so mesmerising and magnificent and give career-defining performances, with the latter giving what is some of the best acting I have ever seen - as Stephen Hawking. Both Jones and Redmayne, very easily, give Oscar-worthy performances and deserve massive commendation for their work but it's Redmayne who steals the show, so brilliantly and movingly capturing the deterioration of Stephen - his speech slurring, his squint walk, the emotion that comes with something like this.
However, Jones is also remarkable as Jane. Let's face it, being married to someone that is facing such an illness is going to be challenging; both mentally and physically shattering. Portraying this will be even more so. Felicity knocks this out of the park. You can see her emotional breakdown, you feel for her struggle and for the hell she's going through, you can look into her eyes and see just how difficult things are for her. You forget that she, and Eddie, are merely acting.
They're so mesmerising that you forget that you're watching a film. They demand your attention and it's, literally, breathtaking to watch them. They don't have any easy task portraying these emotionally driven characters yet they do so very, VERY well; we really empathise for them and for this story of heart and love. Of course, the palpable chemistry between them is of veritable heights and makes their relationship that little bit more real, more magical.
As for the story itself, it's so gloriously captured. From the second this starts to the second it ends, it barely drags - other than maybe one or two moments. You really get invested into this film and into the characters and lives of Stephen and Jane. Their compelling love story is one to cherish and to be known by the world. It's beautiful but it's honest too, showing the reality of love. It also makes us realise that what we have in this world is not to be taken for granted and that we should spend every second of our life savouring and enjoying those we love. It's a remarkable story of artistry and inspiration.
However, what director James Marsh has done that this makes it even more special is how he has made this more than just your typical romance. On the surface, this is your classic love tale. However, this isn't your everyday happy ending fairy tale. No. This is a story that gives an honest real depiction of true love and friendship - showing that it's more than flowers and chocolate.
The Theory of Everything is an incredibly beautiful and moving look at love and life, led by a pair of astonishing, illustrious performances.
About the Author
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.