The Theory Of Everything is the heart wrenching tale of the relationship of Stephen Hawking with his wife Jane. The film starts in the time when Stephen was pursuing his doctorate at Cambridge in the 1960s and was not yet detected with disorder which would perpetually restrict him to a wheel chair. He meets Jane for the first time and sparks fly. The relationship develops but then disaster strikes and Stephen is diagnosed with the condition that would give two years to live. Jane decides to marry Stephen and make the most of what time they have left. Stephen disagrees but finally gives in to her will. The two start a matrimony which keeps getting overshadowed by either Stephen’s greatness or his illness.
While the two try their best to strike a balance in their relationship, things start crumbling. After having a second child, a daughter, Stephen has a theory about the visibility of black holes. He presents his theory at a lecture where the professors are astounded. This leads to Stephen beginning to become a world-renowned physicist. While focusing on her kids, Stephen’s health, and his increasing fame, Jane is unable to get work done on her own thesis and is frustrated. Jane tells Stephen about her spiraling depression and he says he understands if she needs help. At the suggestion of her mother, she joins the church choir, where she meets Jonathan (Charlie Cox). She and Jonathan become close friends, and she employs him as a piano teacher for her son. Jonathan, a widower, soon becomes a friend of the entire family, helping Stephen with his illness, supporting Jane, and playing with the children.
The entry of Jonathan, who has feeling for Jane and vice versa, only takes the matter awry. Stephen soon loses his voice after suffering a fit at a conference in Bordeaux. Jane bids adieu to Jonathan and painstakingly nurtures him back to health and then enters Eileen Bond who is Stephen’s therapist. Her entry into Hawking’s life exposes some cracks in his relationship with his wife which came about primarily because of the amount of time the man survived. Jonathan may have been a prelude but the exhaustion of having to carry on being a mother and a caretaker of Stephen at the same time always showed its impact on Jane.
In a key statement, Jane exclaims to Stephen, “they said you would die in two but you had so many”. This statement more than enough explains the reason why she just couldn’t continue any further with him and rushes back to Jonathan whome she always had feelings for. The film is based on the book written by Jane and interestingly takes a stark and somewhat honest take on the relationship of Stephen and his wife Jane. The film takes you from one sequence to another where you will be forced to take sides. You will either sympathetize with the wife and the way she loses her dreams in the shadow of the man and also burdened by her responsibility to care for the man and bring up the children. You will understand her taking refuge in the relationship which gives her a slice of normalcy as she so exasperatedly renounces in a scene of not having.
In the other scenario you will denounce the wife for not continuing with the man whome she took vows with and also who took her to a level she might never have reached. You will hate the wife for abandoning a man who truly loved her just for the reason that he is not normal and that being with him would entail some serious stressful situations. You will also hate for accusing Hawking for living so long. That was the scene which made me just lose my respect and a tiny bit of sympathy that I had for her. You see I just took sides and became partial towards a character. That’s what the film does to you and therein lies its greatest victory. It involves you in the narrative and makes you take sides. How many films of the recent times have been able to do that? Not many, I guess.
Eddie Redmayne plays Hawking like Hawking. It’s unbelievable the way he portrays the man. There isn’t a single sequence where he is not in his full element and to maintain such authenticity throughout a film which is not on the shorter side was never easy. He accomplishes that successfully. He specially comes into his element in the latter half of the film wherein he has to convey emotions without words. Felicity Jones as Jane is spectacular. She is utterly believable as the woman who married Stephen and then later found it difficult to keep up with his genius and his sickness. Her dramatic scenes with Hawking are alone worth the price of admission.
Apart from the performances the cinematography of the film is legendary. The dream like compositions making up the time Hawking spent at Cambridge and the corresponding slightly real look to the rest of the rest of the visuals perfectly set the mood for the things to come. Close ups are voraciously used to show the exact emotions of the man who had all but facial expressions to show throughout the film. The music is pitch perfect for the setting and the editing flawless. The Theory Of Everything is a fore runner for the Oscars this year and it is for all the right reasons. I won’t be surprised if it bags a few biggies at the Oscars this year. Overall this is a deeply touching film chronicling the personal life of a man who has been called Newton’s successor. This is one which cannot be missed.