“The Theory of Everything”, a Disappointing Oscar Biopic


To say that Stephen Hawking is amongst the most brilliant men of our time would be an understatement. He’s a man with multiple achievements under his belt in the world of physics and quantum mechanics and his presence has had a profound impact on on these subjects. James Marsh’s “The Theory of Everything” hopes to provide some behind-the-scenes insight on Hawking and the difficult life he leads, from his first marriage to how his disease affected him and his family.

 The romance of Stephen Hawking is a surprisingly tragic one that James Marsh does not in any way attempt to sugarcoat or sap. This is definitely admirable and refreshing to see, considering how so many biopics of well-known, respected people shy away from the more negative aspects of their lives. That being said, the dull, traditional, borderline melodramatic depiction of its narrative crushes much of the potential that that it had. Every minute of its two hour and three minute run-time is felt due to the awful pacing.

It is impossible not to admire some of the talent involved, though. Eddie Redmayne of 2012’s “Les Miserables” is cast as StephenHawking and there really is no other actor out there who could have pulled it off quite as impressively as he did. He captures the physicality of him unbelievably well but also has a few more emotional, moving moments to test his acting abilities. The supporting cast is solid too, from Felicity Jones as his first wife, Jane, to David Thewlis as Hawking’s professor in college. Director of photography Benoit Delhomme is also bound to get some awards recognition for his lush cinematography here.

 There is a lot to admire about “The Theory of Everything”, but it ultimately does not work as much as it had the potential to.  It just ends up getting lost in a pool of other forgettable, baity biopics.  It’s a shame that this film was as slow and, in terms of execution, standard as it was because both Stephen Hawking and this story deserve a great movie.  Even so, this film feels like it was worth being made solely because Hawking will never get a better portrayal than Redmayne’s here.

Eddie Redmayne’s perfect turn as Hawking and elevates what would be an otherwise largely uninteresting biopic.  Overall, the final grade for “The Theory of Everything” is a C+.