Tuesday, 20 January 2015

The Theory of Everything by Bridget Jones

Based upon the memoir by Jane Hawking Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen Hawking, this film directed by James Marsh (Man on Wire, Shadow Dancer), tells the story of Dr. Hawking from postgraduate at Cambridge 1963 upto the awarding of a CBE by the Queen nearly 30 years later.

This is a lot of years past his supposed expiration date when upon the initial prognosis of the motor neurone disease in 1964 leading to his crippling physical disability, the doctor gave him a maximum of two years left in life.

The willingness of Jane (Felicity Jones) to provide emotional support led to Hawking completing his thesis on black holes as well as the creation of three children.

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This film hangs upon the powerhouse central performance by Eddie Redmayne, who in channeling the best Method style of Daniel Day-Lewis, gives a performance where you see him morph into the Hawking we more commonly recognise. Redmayne is rightly being lauded for this role which shows amazing range and ability from someone so young, his hat is firmly in the ring with Michael Keaton for Best Actor at the Oscars and Baftas.

Whilst the film is more keen on the love story it nevertheless wraps up all of Hawking's theories into pigeon English for this reviewer to understand helped by Marsh's visual tick of incorporating circles or whirls - a spinning staircase, cream in a coffee and the wheels of Hawking's wheelchair - as well as when Hawking preaches his theory to his peers and his friend, Brian (Harry Lloyd) speaks it over a pint in a pub.

Being the female side of the Hawking clamour of celebrity, you see through Jane's eyes the slow dissolution of the marriage as well as her growing affection for Jonathan Hellyer Jones, a winning performance by Charlie Cox (last seen in Hello Carter) who plays it with smiles, when if a male story would paint him as a villain. However, when in opposition to a man in a wheelchair as a handsome gentleman, the contrasts scream to the audience.

Yet this ethical quandary of romance, affairs and relationships leaves a somewhat uneasy feeling in the mouth, as we are well aware that the couple do not end up together it is odd to make a love story where the coupling has ended; this is not a fault of the filmmakers who have made a good fist of making a film with the material at hand, yet much like Foxcatcher when the ending is already known to the audience it is hard to not feel as subdued as Jane Wilde was when writing this memoir.

All in all The Theory of Everything is a pleasing film that tells the story of one of Britain's greatest minds and firmly embodies the notion that behind every great man is a good (albeit surprised) woman. The reason I mention another literary icon in Helen Fielding's creation is that the female authorial voice is clearly apparent, the ability to love above every obstacle is something Ms. Jones would aspire to.  Is it any wonder to notice the presence of the same production company as Bridget Jones' Diary are behind this winning production - Working Title.

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