Saturday, 3 January 2015

The Theory of Everything Review



Today I went to see The Theory of Everything with my family. I didn't really have any expectations other than that I knew I was definitely going to well up, as I did watching the trailer! It sounds really ignorant but I wasn't aware of that many aspects of Stephen Hawking's life, so The Theory of Everything was so enlightening above all yet also a beautiful piece of film making.
I knew what a horrific disease Motor Neurones is as my Mum knew someone personally who had it, but I couldn't believe how harrowing it came across in the film. Eddie Redmayne was indescribable really; I don't think any word could actually do his performance justice! He really came into his own in this film and was unrecognisable from his Burberry ads. Not only was he cast perfectly, being a ringer for Stephen as a twenty something year old, but his use of movement - the body language showing the excruciating effect of the muscular disease- and the emotion he portrayed from the get go were just stunning. Obviously I don't think anyone can fully understand the everyday trials a sufferer of this disease has to face. But this film genuinely and candidly gives you some sort of an idea. Both Redmayne and Felicity Jones (playing Hawking's wife) did meet sufferers and their carers, as well as spending time with Hawking and ex wife Jane, to observe the symbiotic relationship they were to reenact firsthand. The heart-breaking image that absolutely stayed with me is one where Stephen's disease has matured significantly. He is struggling to pull himself up the stairs in his home, while his toddler daughter watches through the stair gate.


What I find so amazing about Stephen Hawking's life is how it has actually been quite underwhelming; at least, it's portrayed in the film that he has an ordinary house, ordinary, pub-crawling teenage friends and a loving family who try to do everything the norm. What I mean is that he still managed to have an identifiable life despite his life-threatening condition. The style of the film itself reminds me of those wonderful romantic comedies that you can't help but adore- it's got the charm, heart and humour of Richard Curtis' About Time for example. Yet the fact that over and over again while watching, you think to yourself, "this is a real story", makes it so much more captivating and very, very emotional. I had a packet of tissues but I was too embarrassed to rustle around and use them so I ended up with such a damp sleeve and I think Matt's jumper soaked up some tears too!
The film is shot in a very realistic and sometimes vintage effect to add to the central theme of memory and loss. Certain scenes played in a gorgeous retro tint (shown in the wedding picture below), including ones where time skipped forward and back. Hawkings obviously never lost his great mind, but what wrecks havoc emotionally in the film is the fact that Stephen was at one point a normal teenager, and the two lovers started out in a conventional relationship. A scene where Stephen watches, frustrated, as friends around him conduct the things we take for granted in life, such as eating with a knife and fork, displayed the almost torturous effect of keeping a sustained mind with ALS.


Stephen's wife, Jane, played by Felicity Jones was also spellbinding. Not only is she so naturally beautiful and eloquent in my book, but she made her character so relatable and believable. Her and Eddie's chemistry was enchanting to watch. I can't stress enough how much this movie needs to be seen; as an important piece of today's culture and in celebration really of Hawkings' inspirational willpower and achievements. Yes, we all came out of the cinema debating the validity of physics, and it definitely brought up some baffling philosophical questions, but it's a film I'm still thinking about hours later. James Marsh, the director has done the most fantastic job and I really hope this film and its two main actors win numerous awards.

1 comment:

  1. We saw it last night, a spectacular performance all round methinks! Definitely worth seeing :-) xx

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