Film review: The Theory of Everything (4 out of 5)

The rich and highly varied subject matter that creates a great movie never ceases to amaze me.

Let’s face it, the life of renowned physicist Stephen Hawking is incredible enough on its own to form an interesting film.

The Theory of Everything

The Theory of Everything

However, The Theory of Everything hones in on just a small - albeit very important and significant - part of his life.

It’s based on the book written by his first wife Jane.

We watch as the young but brilliant student meets Jane, followed by their married life and the eventual break-up as each partner meets someone else.

Hawking’s failing health due to motor neurone disease is shown convincingly thanks to a quite amazing performance from actor Eddie Redmayne.

It’s no wonder that Redmayne is being cited as a good bet for an award. This is a tough role to play both physically and emotionally and the young actor nails it.

Technically it was demanding as, with most films, it wasn’t shot chronologically so Redmayne had to ensure perfect continuity.

For Felicity Jones, as Jane, this is a good meaty role which she revels in, showing the incredible determination that must have existed to keep a relatively normal family life going.

The rest of the cast provide great support, especially Charlie Cox as Jonathan Jones who Jane eventually marries and David Thewlis as Hawking’s professor and, in later life, friend Dennis Sciama.

Director James Marsh has an interesting back catalogue with the impressive documentaries Nim and and Man on a Wire.

He does a great job with this latest project, with some nice touches, including a heart-rending but simple scene towards the end as Hawking sees a pen dropped on the floor.

Add a great music score and you have a superb movie that sees a strong start to 2015.

It has to be pointed out that while this is often a sad film there is also humour to lift the mood.

The only negative point is that the science is explained rather too simply at times, considering these are highly intelligent men and women - using a pea and an potato to describe a theory was a bit strange.

However, this is a minor quibble and no doubt most of the audience, like me, appreciated the explanations.

Film details: The Theory of Everything (12A) 123mins

Director: James Marsh

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, David Thewlis

Screening courtesy of Horsham Capitol