By Melissa Proulx, Staff Writer
When it comes to going to the movies, there aren’t many that will get me out of the house to justify the arm and a leg that I have to spend for a ticket to actually get in the theater. But when I heard that there was going to be a movie about the legendary Stephen Hawking, I decided to make the trip.
“The Theory of Everything” takes a different approach to telling the genius’ story, focusing on his personal life rather than the work that made him famous. It is not just a story about him, but the love of his life as well.
Hawking met his wife, Jane, at the beginning of the movie, spotting each other from across the room at a party one night. Just like the classic cliché, the audience is given the impression that it was love at first sight after they spend the night hiding in a stairwell, telling each other about themselves until the party ends, even though Jane’s friend had said that they were only going to stay for a little bit.
This happy, loving scene and the ones that follow come as a breath of fresh air compared to what the two go through during the rest of the film.
As is common knowledge, Hawking has ALS, a disease that causes the parts of the brain that control muscle function to deteriorate to the point where the person can no longer walk or move. The disease had hit him suddenly as he walked across campus, and he is subjected to a rudimentary series of testing to figure out what he has.
The distress allows the audience to connect with the characters emotionally. You feel their frustration, whether it is Hawking dealing with his disease or Jane trying to take care of the couple’s children and her husband as his disease progresses.
Director James Marsh has had experience with these sorts of films before. His other most well-known works are “Man on Wire,” which tells of the story of Phillippe Petit’s tightrope walk between the two Twin Towers in 1974, and “Shadow Dancer,” a film about a member of the Irish Republican Army who becomes an informant against her cause in order to protect her son.
From this, it’s clear that he knows how to capture the human element of the films, which he is able to very clearly do in this movie.
Actor Eddie Redmayne was a familiar face for many movie buffs. Before this particular film, he had starred as Marius, the counterpart to Amanda Seidfried’s character in “Les Miserables,” and “My Week with Marlilyn.” Those familiar with his work would know that he is a believable romantic and has a quiet, soft demeanor that adds to his mystery and appeal.
Because of this, he was able to capture what some may believe to be the personality of the young super genius that is Hawking, making him appear to be a man who saw the world in formulas and facts rather than abstract meaning.
And while these characters are believable, it’s not done so in a cheesy, overdramatic, romantic comedy kind of way. With both the acting and the directing, there were times when it seemed as though I was watching a documentary of the two rather than a film.
Overall, I would recommend that anyone interested or even just looking for something to do go see this movie while you can. It’s a great way to learn about the man behind the theory if you do have an interest in that kind of thing.
Currently, the film is in a limited number of theaters, though it is playing at the nearby Regal Cinemas in Newington, New Hampshire, and O’Neil Cinemas in Epping, New Hampshire.