‘The Theory of Everything’ impresses audiences

BY ANNALEE WALTON

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TTOE_D08_ 03194 (L to R) Eddie Redmayne stars as Stephen Hawking and Felicity Jones stars as Jane Wilde in Academy Award winner James Marsh’s THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING, a Focus Features release.

Photo Credit: Liam Daniel / Focus Features

The movie that made the viewers cry simply in the previews has exceeded expectations. Directed by James Marsh, “The Theory of Everything” has given us hope for Hollywood. The film follows the remarkable life and love story of the renowned theoretical physicist Dr. Stephen Hawking and his wife Jane, as well as Hawking’s incredible discoveries as a scientist.

The story begins with his Oxford days and transitions to his doctoral work at Cambridge where he meets Jane shortly before he is diagnosed with motor neurone disease (ALS). Expected to live two more years, Stephen Hawking defied medical assumptions and continued to build a family, receiving his doctorate for his breakthrough of the Big Bang Theory. Hawking faces everyday challenges such as kids and marriage as well as speech loss and physical disablement, while still keeping an incredibly charming humor throughout the trials.

Eddie Redmayne, who plays Hawking, has truly set a standard with this role. His remarkable portrayal of Hawking is something outstanding. I had the pleasure of speaking to Redmayne over the phone (who is marvelously charming as well as witty by the way) a few days ago about his part in this film. When asked about his preparation for this role he explained that four months before filming, “I went to a nuerology clinic in London in somewhere called the Queen’s Square Nuerology Clinic and I would go there every week or two over that period and meet with the specialists there and she would introduce me to people suffering from this really brutal disease.”

He purposefully studied the disease from three dimensions—scientific, emotional, and Hawking himself—to get a complete knowledge of ALS’s effects on not only the body but also families and relationships. Redmayne said that “some of them would invite me to their homes so you could not only see the physical effects of ALS, but also the emotional ones and also the extraordinary humor and passion for life that many people who are suffering from this disease have.”

He clarified that he had chased the role of Hawking for some time before he got it and remarked the feeling of receiving the role as an “extraordinary excitement followed by a sucker-punch of fear.”

Filming a progress disease, he explains, was particularly challenging because films shoot the story out of order. One day he might’ve been playing Hawking as an old man with children and the next he was in the early stages of ALS. An incredible feat, Redmayne delivered an award deserving performance that has challenged everything.

The interview also included the immensely talented screenwriter Anthony McCarten. What struck me throughout the film was the complex presence of God especially in Stephen and Jane’s marriage. When I asked him to expand on these references, specifically Christian, he clarified that “it was absolutely incumbent on me to include the question of the existence of God mainly because it impacted on the marriage…and secondly Stephen’s ideas applied almost take us to the threshold of that question…his entre professional career was dragged into the God question and tht was another reason why that any telling of his life had to deal with it on some level.”

As you can see, “The Theory of Everything” addresses a stunning array of topics—love, science, God, etc.—while still maintaining an entertaining charm that is hard to ignore. I laughed, I cried, I cried so hard I laughed and repeat. And that was only in the trailer. Wait until you see the entire thing. You’ll be an emotional wreck. But don’t worry. You’ll be happy about it.

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