Friday, 2 January 2015

Review: The Theory Of Everything

World of Blackout Film Review

The Theory of Everything Poster

The Theory of Everything
Cert: 12A / 123 mins / Dir. James Marsh / Trailer
WoB Rating: 6/7

A very strong start to 2015 with the James Marsh drama about the first marriage of Professor Stephen Hawking. The film is based on the memoir written by Jane Wilde Hawking detailing their meeting at Cambridge University and subsequent relationship, through Stephen's diagnosis with Motor Neurone Disease and the couple's commitment to overcoming the effects of it.

Good points first: The story, told for the most part from Jane's point-of-view, paints the couple without bitterness, resentment nor weakness, despite both performances being nothing less than completely human. Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones are on blistering, awards-worthy form as Stephen and Jane, respectively. To the point where you know you're watching Redmayne and Jones, but you completely forget that you're watching Redmayne and Jones; that's a rare talent, and one which I hope will be recognised with the appropriate commendations.

The Theory Of Everything does, however, feel a little televisual, and you get the impression that this could be an upscaled one-off TV drama; an absolutely fantastic one, but even so. The other problem is that while Professor Hawking's work as a physicist and his life-transforming illness are key factors in the story, they're not its main focus, and whenever either of them protrude into the narrative, you suddenly realise that a film about Stephen's work would probably be a lot more engaging than a one about his marriage*1. But y'know, that's what the film is, so I can hardly knock it for that.
A great companion-piece to The Imitation Game, The Theory Of Everything is a film which has every right to be hailed as inspirational, and might be one of the most quietly touching films you see this year.

Is this film worth paying £10+ to see?
It is, indeed.

Well, I don't like the cinema. Buy it, rent it, or wait for it to be on telly?
A rental, I think. It's not really one for repeat-viewings.

Is this the best work of the leading performer(s)?
So far, indeed.

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
I'm fairly certain it does.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
Maybe a little.

Oh, and is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There isn't, oddly.

…but what's the Star Wars connection?
Eddie Redmayne starred in the 2009 film, 'Glorious 39', alongside Count Dooku himself Sir Christopher Lee, and a certain Mr David Tennant, who voiced the Clone Wars' lightsaber-construction-expert droid, Huyang.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 The film has a large time-span to cover admittedly, but in one scene Stephen's being given the diagnosis of a two-year life expectancy, then it's not mentioned until around ten years later, in-film. We know he defied (and continues to defy) the limitations that MND has set upon him, but the screenplay almost seems to downplay the mathematics of the situation. Which seems odd, under the circumstances.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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