The Theory of Everything reviews

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Re: The Theory of Everything reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Mon Nov 10, 2014 2:46 pm

Interistingly, while on this board - by far the best, most serious Oscar-related place on the net - Eddie Redmayne's performance is considered as little more than average, the other Oscar sites are already crazy about it. This is Sasha Stone:

"I found myself utterly and completely captivated by Redmayne as Hawking and I’m going to bet a lot of voters will feel that way. It was not just about his transformation into Hawking – it was the warmth, humor and depth he brought to a character who could only move his eyebrows and smile on occasion. I barely recognized Redmayne by the end and really thought I was watching Stephen Hawking. It is a triumph of a performance, among the best of the year and it’s a serious threat to win."

It's depressingly cliched, superficial writing, of course - still, especially after last year, I know that it IS a signal. They know that such a role CAN be Oscar-friendly, so they MUST like it in order to be ready when (if) it wins. The new aspect is that, by doing so, today they also influence the Academy. It's too soon to say, of course, but now I can read through all this, and I don't like it much.

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Re: The Theory of Everything reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Sat Nov 08, 2014 6:48 pm

Mister Tee wrote:When Eddie Redmayne's name flashed on screen at the end, a number of people applauded, and I inwardly cringed. If Redmayne wins the Oscar for this, it diminishes Daniel Day-Lewis' My Left Foot win in retrospect -- it says that any physical deformity performance wins awards, even if far less inspired. I didn't see Redmayne's Tony-winning work on stage, but I've seen him in Savage Grace, My Week with Marilyn, Les Miz and this -- so I'm ready to declare him as presence-less an actor as I've ever seen touted as someone special. He's got a wispy physical look -- like you could knock him down with a few breaths -- and personality to match. What BJ says about Felicity Jones goes double for me with Redmayne: I find him duller than batshit. Jones actually seems to carry more of the film, at times, and she's no ball of fire, either. She's perfectly pleasant -- got that Brit diction down pat -- but she's a throwback to the era when well-spoken-ness was most of what we expected from English actors. Same with that guy who played her replacement husband, whose name I haven't looked up so I'll just refer to him as "looked enough like Colin Firth it must have been intentional".

I won't get to see this one for a while so my favorite Eddie Redmayne performance for the time being will have to remain the one he gave in Glorious 39 opposite Romola Garai. Charlie Cox (Stardust, Downton Abbey, Boardwalk Empire) was in that one, too. He plays the "replacement husband" here. I haven't seen Felicity Jones in anything yet that supports the wild enthusiasm that has always greeted her, but why wouldn't the British born and educated actress have "that Brit diction" down pat?

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Re: The Theory of Everything reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Sat Nov 08, 2014 6:19 pm

Mister Tee wrote:If you think the art of cinema peaked in Great Britain around 1946, this is the movie for you.



This is a GREAT first line for a review. I still haven't read what follows - I will now - but yes, it says A LOT about the movie.

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Re: The Theory of Everything reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Sat Nov 08, 2014 6:10 pm

If you think the art of cinema peaked in Great Britain around 1946, this is the movie for you. It's polished; it's more stiff-upper-lip-py and genteel than anything you've thought of in years; it displays the triumph of the human spirit (permission to gag, please); it's got comic lines set at perfect level to evoke wry chuckles; it's so conventional, Philomena seems edgy by comparison. And maybe the worst thing about it: it's not BAD. If your parents tell you they loved it (and they will), you won't be able to rebut them without insulting their stultifying taste. The whole thing is immaculately crafted; it's also utterly derivative, and without one bit of spark.

Okay, there are a few things I can criticize beyond the concept: for a movie that sets "time" as its recurring theme, it shows little interest in keeping us up to date. Once past the 1963 opening, I had virtually no idea what year it was -- it could have been months, years or decades going by. This is especially irritating because the doctor tells Hawking upon diagnosis he has two years left, yet he goes on and one (something like 50 years as of today), and no one ever comments on how amazing this is. Except near the end, of course, when the suggestion appears to be that Hawking lived past this death sentence because of his own inherent awesomeness. This may well be my singular, personal reaction, but...having lived through losing someone close to a crushing disease, I really have contempt for the idea that some endure because of their wonderful individual grit. Fuck that: lots of people put up a fight and lose exactly the way they were predicted to; if you survived where others didn't, consider yourself lucky and leave it at that.

When Eddie Redmayne's name flashed on screen at the end, a number of people applauded, and I inwardly cringed. If Redmayne wins the Oscar for this, it diminishes Daniel Day-Lewis' My Left Foot win in retrospect -- it says that any physical deformity performance wins awards, even if far less inspired. I didn't see Redmayne's Tony-winning work on stage, but I've seen him in Savage Grace, My Week with Marilyn, Les Miz and this -- so I'm ready to declare him as presence-less an actor as I've ever seen touted as someone special. He's got a wispy physical look -- like you could knock him down with a few breaths -- and personality to match. What BJ says about Felicity Jones goes double for me with Redmayne: I find him duller than batshit. Jones actually seems to carry more of the film, at times, and she's no ball of fire, either. She's perfectly pleasant -- got that Brit diction down pat -- but she's a throwback to the era when well-spoken-ness was most of what we expected from English actors. Same with that guy who played her replacement husband, whose name I haven't looked up so I'll just refer to him as "looked enough like Colin Firth it must have been intentional". And, by the way: that whole "let's play musical households" part of the film? -- it was played out as if over afternoon tea. Maybe a few soft tears in the end, but no screaming, no rage. Which maybe fits in with the "no sex" part of the film: when Jane turned up pregnant the first time, I was astonished; thought it might be a virgin birth. As close as we get to seriously declared desire in this film is Jane timidly tapping at a tent flap. A severe heart-patient could watch this film and his EKG would never take a single leap.

It infuriates me movies like this get automatic spots in the Oscar queue if they're even faintly competently done. It was bad enough during the dread 80s, when things like Children of a Lesser God got across-the-board nominations; at least there we had the excuse of a culturally moribund time. There's far more exciting stuff being made routinely today, and watching awards bodies reverting to rote is deeply saddening.

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Re: The Theory of Everything reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Wed Oct 29, 2014 2:41 pm

I feel like I've gotten to a point with moviegoing very recently where I can pretty solidly say that I've seen my fair share of movies across film history -- at least compared to the average moviegoer. As a result, I'm starting to have a much tougher time with the less original fare. A movie I might have found respectable if I saw it ten years ago can now feel hopelessly familiar to me, and that's about how I responded to The Theory of Everything. About halfway through the movie, I realized that there had barely been a scene in the movie that didn't feel like I had already seen some version of it in plenty of other films, and that feeling pretty much only got more pronounced as the story went on.

The opening scenes of the movie, for instance, seemed familiar from countless biographies that start up in university settings -- Stephen Hawking's early attempts at flirtation, steeped in science nerd bumbling, feel straight out of A Beautiful Mind. (There's even a scene where Stephen and Jane talk about the universe and stare up at the sky that feels directly lifted from Howard's film.) Much of the movie's depiction of Hawking in his later wheelchair bound state is territory My Left Foot explored -- even Hawking's bawdy sense of humor doesn't feel all that different from Christy Brown's in the earlier film. After a later, life-saving surgery, Hawking has to learn to communicate with just his eyes -- check off The Diving Bell and the Butterfly on the disability movie sampling tour! And heck, when Emily Watson popped up in a (surprisingly) brief role, I realized that much of Hawking's gradual physical debilitation because of disease had been depicted in a similar way in Hilary and Jackie. Even the late-movie Q&A after the publication of A Brief History of Time feels like it's serving exactly the same sentimentally uplifting purpose as Nash's Nobel Prize speech in A Beautiful Mind. The whole movie just felt so carefully assembled from pieces of previous Oscar bait biographies, offering barely any fresh insight or complexity to standard disability movie templates. (Or much narrative drive, either. Frankly, I found much of it tedious simply based on the fact that the plot barely seemed to go much of anywhere.)

And though I think the performers are both committed enough to their roles, I can't say I found the acting in the movie any more revelatory. Eddie Redmayne is a young actor with talent, and he certainly has a part with pretty extreme physical challenges. I think he pulls it off in a manner that's tastefully realistic, where a less skilled performer could have easily over-exerted for histrionic effect. And yet, I didn't feel the level of extraordinary immersion into his character that I experienced watching Day-Lewis in My Left Foot -- much of Redmayne's performance felt like a good actor playing a disabled person, which I feel like I've seen plenty of times before. Obviously, this is the kind of role that is bound to get awards attention -- he could very well win the Oscar -- but it's not really a performance that feels special to me in any way, because it didn't feel like any fresh take.

As for Felicity Jones, well...at this point I've feel like I've seen her in enough movies to form a decent enough opinion of her as an actress, and I have to say I find her about as dull as dishwater. Her work here isn't what I'd call lazy -- in the latter half of the movie, especially, she asserts her character's frustration over her situation with decent enough effort -- but I just don't feel like she ever brings all that much to the table in terms of charisma or specificity. (I still can't believe much of the plot of Like Crazy was essentially "Ditch Jennifer Lawrence so you can get Felicity Jones!" which seemed a pretty insane reversal of priorities to me.) If she's pushed for Best Actress, I rate her an an iffy prospect unless the field is thin, pretty unlikely if some combo of Adams/Chastain/Blunt become solid players. Her nomination chances would be much higher if gerrymandered down to Support, which would make her one of those obnoxious cases of a lead role slotted in the lower category just because it wasn't good enough to make it in the appropriate race.

All in all, I'm probably being too down on the movie, which isn't aggressively bad or anything. But I found it pretty uninspiring stuff, the kind of movie that usually gets an easy pass to awards success simply based on subject matter, when far more exciting movies have to sit on the sidelines.

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Re: The Theory of Everything reviews

Postby Precious Doll » Mon Sep 08, 2014 4:11 pm

There is already a serviceable TV film starring Benedict Cumberbatch that covers the same ground.
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Re: The Theory of Everything reviews

Postby Greg » Mon Sep 08, 2014 2:39 pm

I posted the video for it in another thread I started. I was actually quite impressed by it, but, I suspect that this is the type of film that is much more up my alley than it is for many of the others here.
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Re: The Theory of Everything reviews

Postby Sabin » Sun Sep 07, 2014 8:38 pm

Looks unbearably milquetoast.
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The Theory of Everything reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Sun Sep 07, 2014 8:02 pm

Are there people who really get excited about movies like this? I read these reviews and think, crap, am I going to have to see this?


Variety
Justin Chang
Chief Film Critic @JustinCChang

The intricate workings of a rare and remarkable mind are rendered in simple, accessible terms in “The Theory of Everything,” a sensitively directed inspirational biopic centered around the great British physicist Stephen Hawking and his mind-over-body struggle with motor neuron disease. Striving to pay equal tribute to Hawking’s first wife, Jane (on whose memoir the film is based), and her tireless devotion to him until their 25-year marriage ended in 1995, director James Marsh similarly attempts to find intimate, personal applications for Hawking’s grand cosmic inquiries, tracing the story of how the author of “A Brief History of Time” came to defy time itself. Still, what’s onscreen is less a cerebral experience than a stirring and bittersweet love story, inflected with tasteful good humor, that can’t help but recall earlier disability dramas like “My Left Foot” and “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.” Superb performances from Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones should stand the Focus Features release in good critical and commercial stead when it bows Nov. 7 Stateside.

A brief prologue at Buckingham Palace quickly dissolves, in rather on-the-nose fashion, from a slowly rolling wheelchair to a fast-spinning bicycle, as young Stephen (Redmayne) joyfully races a friend through the streets of Cambridge in 1963. A skinny, rumpled-looking fellow who peers out from behind perpetually dirty, thick-rimmed glasses, Stephen is a brilliant graduate student in cosmology, and already deeply fascinated by time, the origins of the universe and other theoretical concepts that will occupy much of his later writing and research. But even as his intellectual prowess knows no limits, his physical vigor soon abandons him, as foreshadowed early on when he idly knocks over a cup of tea. At around the half-hour mark his head hits the pavement with a sickening crack, at which point Stephen learns he has MND, a disease related to ALS that will gradually shut down all muscular control, and that he will live for only two years at most.

Unwilling to accept this grim diagnosis, however, is Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones), whom Stephen immediately falls in love with and marries — never mind that, as a student of foreign languages and poetry as well as a devout member of the Church of England, she represents in many ways his intellectual and philosophical opposite. (Debating Jane on the existence of God, Stephen notes that he has “a slight problem with the whole celestial-dictator premise,” one of many wry witticisms that pepper Anthony McCarten’s literate script.) But their differing systems of belief (she has one, he doesn’t) turn out to be a unifying principle rather than a divisive one, and indeed, one of the film’s most bracing thematic motifs is Hawking’s refusal to lock himself into rigidly predetermined conclusions, his openness to reversing and contradicting his own monumental work in pursuit of ever higher and deeper forms of knowledge.

Jane is bravely determined to help her husband fight his debilitating illness and enjoy however many years they have together, which happily turn out to be far more than expected (Hawking is now 72). Yet Marsh takes pains to convey the heavy burden of Stephen’s physical decline in every grueling particular, and Redmayne’s performance nails all the outward manifestations without unnecessary exaggeration: the contorted wrist, the drooping head, the stooped posture, the inward-pointing toes, the reliance on crutches and wheelchair, and the increasingly unintelligible speech that ultimately led Hawking to use a speech-generating device. Redmayne palpably conveys the man’s frustration and humiliation at each fresh deprivation, from his inability to transfer food from plate to mouth to his difficulty holding and playing with his children (Stephen and Jane have three kids, the disease having mercifully not interfered with every key bodily function).

Looking after this particular family, of course, is a full-time job that takes an enormous toll on Jane, whom Jones invests with warmth, spirit and a determination motivated as much by her character’s religious faith as by her love for Stephen. One of the more refreshing aspects of “The Theory of Everything” is the way it acknowledges what it really means to be long-suffering wife, that regular yet often strictly decorative fixture of far too many great-man Hollywood biopics. In Jane’s case, that means fending off nasty rumors and her own undeniable temptations when her church choirmaster, a handsome and sensitive widower named Jonathan Hellyer Jones (a fine Charlie Cox), becomes a close family friend, informal caretaker to Stephen and rowdy father figure to the kids.

The later passages are replete with sniffle-inducing sentiments, underplayed marital tensions and no shortage of amusing jokes, drawing on Stephen’s seemingly bottomless reserves of self-deprecating humor. Eventually the story arrives at the painful matter of the couple’s divorce, in scenes that feel somewhat truncated and show clear signs of genteel narrative airbrushing: Understandably, the filmmakers chose to adapt not Jane Hawking’s angry and controversial 1999 tell-all, “Music to Move the Stars,” but rather her more tempered and forgiving 2008 follow-up, “Traveling to Infinity: My Life With Stephen,” and their sympathies feel more or less evenly divided between two individuals who remain friends even after the end of their marriage.

It’s worth noting that “The Theory of Everything” derives its title from Hawking’s tireless search for a single universal equation that will account for all existence, reconciling quantum mechanics and Einstein’s general relativity; dramatically speaking, the filmmakers seem to have incorporated that principle by extending a generous spirit of inclusion toward nearly everyone onscreen. Admittedly, they can’t resist aiming a few bitchy jabs at Elaine Mason (Maxine Peake), the protective and strong-willed nurse whom Stephen married in 1995 (and whom he divorced in 2006), but even she comes off as well as she could under the circumstances.

Elsewhere, McCarten’s script offers a clipped overview of Hawking’s achievements while keeping the scientific and mathematical discourse at a level that laypeople in the audience will readily comprehend, employing such figures as Cambridge professor and leading cosmologist Dennis Sciama (David Thewlis) to tease out Hawking’s head-spinning notions about black holes, space-time singularities and the boundaries of the universe. Elsewhere, the film resorts to effective if elementary visual associations: A cheerfully blazing fire neatly serves up the second law of thermodynamics, while the sight of Stephen and Jane twirling beside the river Cam playfully and romantically underscores the reversibility of time.

Marsh has proven himself an expert stylist in his dramatic features (“Shadow Dancer,” his chapter of the “Red Riding” trilogy) as well as his documentaries (“Man on Wire,” “Project Nim”), and he works with d.p. Benoit Delhomme to lend this film a richness of color and texture that keep any sense of British period-piece mustiness at bay. The effect is heightened by Johann Johansson’s score, whose arpeggio-like repetitions and progressions at times evoke the compositions of Philip Glass, working in concert with Jinx Godfrey’s swiftly edited montages to lyrical and emotionally extravagant effect. John Paul Kelly’s production design, Steven Noble’s costumes (entailing 77 wardrobe changes to complete Redmayne’s disheveled-academic look), and well-chosen Cambridge locations uphold the film’s high production standards across the board.

Amid the fine supporting cast, Simon McBurney and Emily Watson make welcome, too-brief appearances as Stephen’s father and Jane’s mother, respectively, both of whom get at least one scene in which to dole out loving, sensible advice.


Hollywood Reporter
Leslie Felperin

Although this portrait of the world’s most famous living physicist’s first marriage lacks big highs, the lows are few and far between

There is a cloying bit towards the end of The Theory of Everything when Professor Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) declaims to a lecture theater of rapt listeners that, “There is no boundary to human endeavor. Where there is life, there is hope.” What sticks out about the scene is not the sentiment itself so much, but the fact that the rest of the film it’s in manages mostly to avoid such saccharine cliches.

A biopic portrait of the marriage between theoretical physicist Hawking and Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones, The Invisible Woman), The Theory of Everything is a solid, duly moving account of their complicated relationship, spanning roughly 25 years, and made with impeccable professional polish. However, if the syrupy lows are blessedly few and far between, the highs are not much more frequent. As such, it’s something of a disappointment for fans of James Marsh, director of such excellent documentaries as Man on Wire and Project Nim and the features Shadow Dancer, The King and one third of the Red Riding trilogy.

Given the stars are relative newcomers, distributors will need to work hard to exploit awareness of Hawking and boost the film’s triumph-over-adversity message to gain traction with audiences and awards bodies over the coming months. It’s unlikely to generate the same high profile as, say, A Beautiful Mind, another notable biopic about a scientist with a disability and a long-suffering wife.

Based on the memoir written by Jane Hawking, nee Wilde, Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen, and adapted by novelist-screenwriter Anthony McCarten (Death of a Superhero), the script feels at pains to be fair to and honor its still-living subjects. Hawking has achieved an unlikely-seeming international celebrity (he’s even cameoed on The Simpsons) after writing the science-for-laymen bestseller A Brief History of Time which explains his theories of cosmology and the titular Theory of Everything, a still incomplete mathematical framework that attempts to reconcile quantum physics and Einstein’s theory of relativity.

Proceeding in doggedly linear, chronological fashion, the action starts in 1963 when Hawking had just begun his Ph.D at Cambridge University. (Locations around the actual town are used in abundance, adding authenticity.) At a party, he meets Jane, a major in Romance Languages and Literature, and soon the two are batting eyes at one another as they politely discuss religion, science and poetry. The courtship gathers pace while Hawking continues to impress his tutor Dennis Sciama (David Thewlis) with his mathematical insight. However, gradually what superficially seems like gawky clumsiness – spilling cups, falling down in the quad – turns out to be evidence of motor neuron disease, a condition related to the ice-bucket-challenge-prompting illness ALS.

A doctor (Adam Godley) tells Hawking he probably has no more than two years to live, and he goes into an understandable spiral of despair. But Jane, who has resources of grit that might not be immediately apparent under her polite English-rose persona, refuses to walk away, and soon the two are married and starting a family.

The core story poses a number of tricky challenges for the filmmakers: how to do justice to Hawking’s scientific achievements without turning it into an illustrated lecture or lots of shots of him writing things on a blackboard with a furrowed brow; how to balance that material with drama about the marriage, especially since Stephen’s disability makes it increasingly hard for him to communicate, putting a greater burden Jane to carry the narrative; and most importantly, how to make the ultimate dissolution of their marriage not feel like a major downer.

It’s to Marsh and his collaborators' credit that the film meets those challenges as well as it does. The science bit gets somewhat slighting treatment, but in truth it’s almost impossible stuff to summarize in the first place, and the use of some stylized visuals of an eye in extreme close up and a few visual effects do well enough to stand for Hawking’s big inspiration about black holes and the origins of the universe. In fact, eyes make for a compelling leitmotiv throughout, especially when Hawking can only communicate with glances and blinks. The texture of academic life is beautifully evoked, and it says a lot for the movie that arguably its most moving moment is the scene where Hawking passes the oral exam (or viva) for his Ph.D.

As his disability increases, the focus shifts more to Jane and how she faces the challenges of caring for Stephen while she gradually falling in love with choirmaster Jonathan Hellyer Jones (Charlie Cox), a sweet subplot that’s also told through significant glances and shimmering pseudo-Super 8 montage sequences that show the evolution of this emotional menage a trois.

Facing the physical challenges of depicting Hawking’s disability, Redmayne pulls it off with enormous grace and endurance, and it’s not just the assist from prosthetic teeth and ears that helps him create an impeccable mimicry of the real man. Jones almost has the harder part in a way, even though she doesn’t have to play someone with a physical handicap, and she holds her own well, although the aging makeup and costumes are less persuasive in the final stretch.

Ace cinematographer Bruno Delhomme's lush, intricately lit compositions add a splendor that keeps the film consistently watchable, even in the slower stretches. Composer Johann Johannsson piano-based score has a dainty precision with a ineffable scientific quality about it, as befits someone who once composed an album called IBM 1401, A User's Manual.


Screen Daily
Tim Grierson

Dir: James Marsh. UK-US. 2014. 123mins

A love story full of romance but also wisdom about how passion can fade or be redirected, The Theory Of Everything tracks the relationship of famed physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife Jane with a fragile beauty. Led by stellar performances from Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, this drama may occasionally flirt too heavily with “prestige picture” preciousness, but on the whole it’s an absorbingly lovely and sad recounting of a marriage that wasn’t built to last, despite its participants’ best intentions.

Premiering at the Toronto Film Festival before a fall release in the States from Focus Features, The Theory Of Everything seems destined to be a contender for Oscar and BAFTA nominations. Commercially, audience awareness of Stephen Hawking will be a help, as will the presence of rising stars Redmayne and Jones. But also don’t discount the movie’s chances of being a preferred date-night attraction for the art-house crowd, with crossover potential a decent possibility.

Spanning about 25 years, The Theory Of Everything (which is based on Jane Hawking’s memoir) begins in the early 1960s as the young Stephen Hawking (Redmayne) is already well on his way to becoming one of the great minds of the 20th century as a student at Cambridge. In between solving complex mathematical formulas and working on a theory concerning the beginning of time, he meets Jane (Jones), a pretty, lively young woman who brings this sweet genius out of his awkward shell.

Unfortunately, their love affair faces a major obstacle early on: Stephen is diagnosed with motor neuron disease (more popularly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) and is told by doctors he won’t live more than two years. Undeterred, Stephen and Jane marry, deciding to make the most of their time together. The gentle irony of The Theory Of Everything is that the couple had far more than two years together, which turned out not to be always such a blessing.

Directed by James Marsh, who has helmed other features but won an Academy Award for his documentary Man On Wire, the movie will have a melancholy sting for those familiar with Stephen and Jane’s story. But for those unaware of the couple’s twists and turns, Marsh and screenwriter Anthony McCarten observe each chapter of their lives from a respectful distance, drawing us into their love affair with an intelligence and understatement that emphasise the fragility of their marriage — not because Stephen and Jane aren’t devoted to each other, but because they know that Stephen’s deteriorating health could bring things to a premature end at any moment.

Because during most of the film Stephen is struggling with his debilitating condition, which forces him into a wheelchair and badly slurs his speech, there is a risk that The Theory Of Everything could devolve into a tasteful disease-of-the-week weepie. Thankfully, Marsh resists that inclination, and he’s aided by Redmayne’s performance. Obviously, playing a famous man requires a certain amount of mimicry, but the young actor does a commendable job approximating Stephen’s crumpled physique and frozen half-smile, giving us a sense of a man whose mind is blazingly alive even though his body has failed him.

What’s also remarkable about the performance is that it’s honest about the growing challenges Stephen’s condition brings to the marriage. Because Redmayne is so withdrawn, barely able to establish a rapport with Jones once the disease takes hold, The Theory Of Everything evolves into a frank portrait of living with illness, both for the sufferer and his spouse. Inevitably and understandably, emotional affairs begin to become an issue, first with Jane as she gets close to a kindly local choir leader (a just-right Charlie Cox) who simply wants to help her with Stephen, who can’t take care of himself.

Whether it’s the opening scenes when Stephen and Jane are falling hopelessly for one another or later when outside forces threaten to separate them, Marsh views romance with a wistful, curious eye, quietly attuned to love’s ebb and flow. Eschewing cliché and thudding obviousness, The Theory Of Everything subtly makes the point that for all of Stephen’s investigations into the mysteries of the universe, the heart can be equally unfathomable.

If Redmayne’s role is the showier of the two, Jones is eloquent as the supportive, strong wife. This sort of character can fall into a type, but Jones finds layers in Jane’s devotion, which is tested by her frustrations about his impairment. Happily, she doesn’t play Jane as a silently suffering martyr, which gives The Theory Of Everything more of a sense of an equal partnership between its two characters.

As the film reaches its final moments, Marsh does allow for a more sweeping profundity that’s a little too crowd-pleasing and bland. There’s no question that this is a top-notch production from a technical standpoint: Benoit Delhomme’s cinematography is diamond-sharp, Johann Johannsson’s score is sublime, and hair and makeup designer Jan Sewell does beautiful work creating prosthetics to help transform Redmayne into the renowned physicist. But The Theory Of Everything’s classiness can sometimes seem too rigid for its own good, aiming for a studied elegance that feels mannered in places.

Nevertheless, what one is ultimately left with is a sense of the richness of a complex marriage. Because The Theory Of Everything is based on Jane’s memoir, there might be a presumption that the film will cast her in a more sympathetic light than her ex-husband, but it’s to Marsh’s credit that there are no villains in this sympathetic tale.


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