This is a movie about science and humanity. Everyone knows The Theory of Everything is about Stephen Hawking, but what people may not think about going into it is the emotional strain for both Hawking and his wife Jane as his disease progresses. His discoveries in science are well-known, as is his current condition. What this movie does, however, is show you how he once was, when he could walk and talk, and did so with confidence and charm. Seeing him go from a young PhD student in the prime of his life to someone told they have two years to live will tug on your heart.
I can’t imagine anyone other than Eddie Redmayne playing Hawking. He perfectly captured Hawking’s intellect, curiosity and charm, down to the twinkle in his eye. There is something mischievous about Hawking that Redmayne was able to include in such a complex and fascinating person. Hearing his diagnosis was obviously difficult, but he also showed a strength of character. Hawking is a sort of legend in our society, but this movie makes him human, and Redmayne brings such a complexity to the story.
Half of the story is Jane, who had started a relationship with Hawking before his diagnosis and refused to be pushed away. Her beliefs differ from Hawking’s, as she is part of the Church of England and goes to church every Sunday. Although she considers this an important part of her life, she also respects and loves the curiosity Hawking has for the world around him. The strength Felicity Jones brings to Jane shows her dedication despite the hardships they suffered. When she meets Jonathan Hellyer Jones, they have a connection – he is happy to help around the house, taking care of the children and Hawking when Jane has other work to do. Their connection eventually turns into something more than friendship, but she remains dedicated to her husband until their marriage begins to separate naturally.
What is best about this movie is that it inspires both a fascination with the world and the universe, as well as an appreciation for Hawking’s life. Often, Hawking is known only through his work, but this film gives him a humanity that does not always immediately come to mind when his name is heard.