A biopic detailing the true story of Stephen Hawking’s life: his relationship with his wife Jane, work in physics, and coping with ALS.
The film starts with Stephen Hawking as a student in Oxford, finishing up his PhD in astrophysics. At a party he meets a literature major named Jane and the two fall in love. But then, a day or so later, Stephen has a nasty fall and is diagnosed with ALS.
In the first of several montages, we see Stephen and Jane get married and have the first of their three children.
Stephen successfully defends his dissertation and gets his PhD, but he continues to deteriorate. Jane’s having a difficult time caring for him; she meets a music guy at church who offers to help out, but it’s obvious that he and Jane are starting to fall in love.
While Jane and the church guy go camping with the kids, Stephen collapses in an opera house from pneumonia. After a tracheotomy he can no longer speak, but gets a nurse to help him communicate via blinking before he upgrades to the synthesized computer voice.
Stephen and Jane separate amicably – he later marries the nurse and Jane goes back to the church dude. And in the final scene, Stephen, Jane, and the kids get ready to meet the Queen so he can turn down a knighthood.
I was expecting a lot more from this film. It was really scattered with a lot of different stories going on that are barely explored: Stephen doing physics stuff with the titular theory, him and his family dealing with his disease and adapting, his relationship with Jane and raising their children, and Jane’s relationship with the church dude. But there was a lack of focus, and with all the jumping around, these stories didn’t get the time they needed to develop.
There were tons and tons of montages – long montages. I could see why this film is easily 2 hours long, and honestly, I fast forwarded through all of them because they really meant nothing.
Instead of being an in-depth look at Stephen Hawking’s life, this felt more like an in-depth look at his Wikipedia article. A series of events, or rather, a checklist showing him going from point A to point B. I thought there was going to be more emotion and memorable moments in this film, but it all felt superficial and lukewarm.
The Theory of Everything did make me a bit more interested in learning more about Hawking’s life, and I would have rather watched a documentary instead. But I have to give massive props to Eddie Redmayne for his performance, which he totally nailed. Yeah, it was definitely an Oscar bait film, but it worked and he took home an Oscar. Good job.