“I’ve been describing lots of movies lately as beautiful. There’s some that I consider inspiring, even if I don’t say it in so many words, or maybe uplifting. There’s even the rare films that I would describe as perfect, in that every aspect is perfectly executed and there are no glaring flaws. Theory of Everything qualifies as all of those. However, the word that I would really use to describe it is encouraging.
I love the extent to which “”nerdy”” things have started to take the pop culture spotlight: superheroes, space, advanced mathematics, etc. And now we get to see the story of one of the biggest and most revered science nerds of our day, Stephen Hawking. He’s made incredibly valuable contributions to theoretical physics, but it wasn’t an easy road for him. He was diagnosed with a motor neuron disease while starting his graduate studies, told that he would lose control over his muscles and likely not survive longer than a couple years. The film centers around those struggles with particular emphasis on his relationship with his first wife, Jane.
There are several reasons why I describe the film as encouraging. One is just Hawking’s vivacity and will to live and overcome. He should have died in his 20s. He’s now in his 70s. There’s also the strength of his relationship with Jane. She perseveres thru some incredibly difficult years, far longer than she had signed up for, loyally remaining by his side. In many ways, this film is as much her story as his, maybe even more so. Despite everything both go thru, giving up is never an option. They stick to their guns and keep their humor and face the world head on. I’d say an inspiring movie makes you want to get up and do something. I call this encouraging because to makes you want to keep going. If they could make it thru their trials, certainly I can make it thru mine.
Our leading performances from Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones were utterly fantastic. Redmayne not only had a trying emotional arc, but he had one of the most physically intense performances I’ve ever seen. From the early losses of balance or clumsy moments to being mostly immobile and bound to a wheelchair, the discipline needed is unfathomable. The resemblance the make up team pulled off is uncanny. Hawking himself has said that parts of the film felt like watching his own life, it was that realistic. Jones has such a strength and presence, she does not let herself get lost in the background. Truly truly beautiful.
I think what I loved best about it was the sense of humor laced throughout. Once Hawking started having trouble speaking, he made sure his words counted. That often meant some cheeky humor thrown in to diffuse a situation. I feel I can relate to that, since as a generally quiet person, in large groups the only thing you’ll hear from me is the occassional sarcastic but clever (if I do say so myself) response. Still, it’s nice to know that Hawking still has that sense of humor.
I’m just still in awe of how moving that film was. Executed to absolute perfection.
Theory of Everything – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/”