THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING | MOVIE REVIEW

THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING is a cinematic ode with the visual style of Turner, the prose of Browning and the acting of Olympia. I am astounded to say it but this is another perfect movie for 2015. This film is sublime on every level and most of all its acting. I had the privilege of attending a screening last night thanks to the great people at Universal Pictures Australia with a good friend, Cath, at Dendy Opera Quays and the session was a full house and the house had lots of tissues. I even took toilet paper out of the bathroom in preparation for the movie, a movie I cried at every time I saw the trailer. Cath said at the end of the movie “I cried for 70% of the movie.” But these are good tears, tears of beauty and achievement, of love and accomplishment, of determination and sheer brilliance. THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING is out now, is rated PG and runs for 123mins.

 

THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER IMAGE

 

BY JASON KING

We all know Stephen Hawking, the uber intelligent genius who is wheelchair bound, suffers from motor neuron diseases, speaks with a robotic voice and just happened to write A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME. Well up until last night that was all I ever knew of him, along comes this knockout masterpiece penned by Anthony McCarten and Jane Hawking (yep the ex-wife and still great friend) that fills in the blanks and provides a human story to a an entity we just know as wheelchair genius robot man. The film was a long project in the making, it took McCarten ten years to get Jane Hawking to agree to a movie being made from her book and then another three years for him to pen the screenplay. It was a passion project and you can tell, a film so moving, so powerful, at times I was unable to look at but then also filled with humor and beauty, a remarkable screenplay and my vote for Oscar.

Director, James Marsh, of PROJECT NIM and MAN ON WIRE fame presents this masterpiece screenplay in the most visually pleasing, effecting and heartwarming movie. We get his life from the time he started University up until him meeting the Queen after his book is released. I had no idea he used to walk, no idea how hilarious and cheeky the man was and knew nothing of his wife/ ex-wife.

 

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THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | STEPHEN HAWKING (EDDIE REDMAYNE) WITH HIS ROWING TEAM

 

The film is incredibly effecting in its exploration into the psyche of Hawking and his wife, I mention his wife because this is her story as well as his, it is partially from her perspective and Felicity Jones’s performance is as important as Eddie Redmayne’s. For Jane Hawking she was advised it would be a two year battle before Stephen would succumb, this was about 50yrs ago, the woman, in her younger years was an incredible trooper, a woman in love and a woman who put her life on hold to care for Stephen. It was no easy task and while a couple of times she came off as less shiny towards the end how can anyone blame her, she is a person with a heart, feelings and urges. Her and Stephen just grew apart but the movie does it in the most delicate and beautiful way – the comment he says to her at the end gave me a little sob – good lord – you should have heard Cath!!

Benoît Delhomme’s cinematography is another layer of beauty in the movie, his use of colours, soft lighting, either 16mm or post-production effects to make it look like 16mm for memory shots and simple angles make this film a serious competitor for another Oscar. The one scene of Stephen in pyjamas, sitting alone in the hospital corridor, right after being told he had motor neuron disease just had this simple pan out and the power of that shot highlighting “you are alone in this” was my most powerful shot, the writer, Anthony McCarten describes the scene where the nurse wipes the tear from Hawking’s face as the most powerful. I really think the cinematography in this will give BIRDMAN a run for its money.

 

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THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | STEPHEN HAWKING (EDDIE REDMAYNE) AND JANE HAWKING (FELICITY JONES) SHARE A HUG AND A DANCE AT THE END OF THE BALL

 

The success of this film firmly rested on the shoulders of one man. Eddie Redmayne, an accomplished actor, a gorgeous actor who is seriously good at what he does. But he has never really had a leading role and never been a household name. I am pretty sure this career defining marvel of a meticulous performance will see an Oscar and a name the world over, I never thought I would say someone outshone Michael Keaton for this year’s Oscars. The physicality of this performance and his absorption in the role actually saw him physically alter his spine over time, he literally remained motionless and hunched over between takes and it changed his body. He also spent hours every day contorting his face and hours learning dancing to move his body prior to being wheelchair bound. And the worst part of it all, the film was not shot chronologically so he literally charted the decline of Stephen Hawking to work out which level of decline he needed to be in for each scene and then fit into that persona. It is one of the best performances I have seen in my life and I applaud Redmayne!

 

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THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | STEPHEN HAWKING (EDDIE REDMAYNE)

 

Also superb in her performance was Felicity Jones, where has this woman been in my life?! I did enjoy her performance in THE INVISIBLE WOMAN and while I have not seen it people enjoyed LIKE CRAZY but most important of all she starred in a Dr Who episode – THE UNICORN AND THE WASP (2008) – her performance in this is also Oscar worthy but I think it will go to Arquette for BOYHOOD. Her strength and independence and beauty in this film are mesmerising and the greatest thing about her’s an Redmayne’s performance – they ooze chemistry and affection. The casting for the film in getting two leads with so much chemistry is superb – hats off to you Nina Gold!!

There is also some great supporting actors in the always brilliant, but subdued in this role, David Thewlis and you totally won’t recognise the beautiful Harry Lloyd as Brian, Stephen’s best friend at University. You have to imagine him with long white hair having liquid lava-like gold poured over his head in a certain little Game of Thrones TV show 🙂

Do yourself a favour, take your partner, your mum, your nan, whoever, get out and experience this remarkable movie.

 

5 Pops