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Film immortalizes Stephen Hawking: romance, drama, life combined in biographical movie

Stephen Hawking is a physicist who has pioneered trailblazing theories explaining the nature of the universe. He is also an author who wrote multiple books detailing such theories. A husband and a father of three, Hawking has also done most of this without being able to move or speak.

The Theory of Everything is a biographical movie about Hawking (played by Eddie Redmayne). Hawking developed ALS at age 21, and although he was given only two years to live, he is remarkably still alive today at age 72. With a comprehensive plot, exquisite acting and touching scenes of emotion, this impressive movie pays homage to an amazing man.

The Theory of Everything primarily details the development of Hawking’s illness and its effects on his career, but it also tells the love story between him and his wife, Jane (played by Felicity Jones), and their complicated relationship. Although I knew he was a genius, I never knew that much about Stephen Hawking. As a result, I appreciated learning, through the film, about his long life and his brilliant mind.

The two-hour-long flick covers a lot of ground in terms of plot. What starts as young Hawking studying at Cambridge and meeting his future wife ends with Hawking years later, giving a lecture about his latest book, A Brief History of Time. However, what the movie included in quantity, it lacked in depth.

The first 20 minutes of the movie, with a young, awkward Hawking slowly wooing his pretty and feisty future wife, are sweet and intimate. However, the movie then lurches into a pace that seems more intent on equally presenting the important events of Hawking’s life than more deeply exploring specific moments.

A greater balance between these types of scenes would have made the path of the film a little less predictable and more entertaining, but there were definitely shining moments in the movie that tugged on my heartstrings. The redeeming scene of the movie is one of the last, in which an old Hawking gives a short, inspiring monologue about finding hope in everyday life that confirms the strength of his spirit.

Any downfalls of the movie in terms of plot and editing choices were made up by the acting—namely from Redmayne. From a purely physical standpoint, Redmayne’s transformation into a man with a body that is slowly deteriorating from the degenerative effects of ALS is as remarkable as Hawking himself.

Redmayne mimics the painstaking progression of the illness with finesse, detailing each level of the disease with a limp a little more pronounced, a writing style with a little more jerk and less control of the hand. He even delivered his lines clearly and effectively in different points of Hawking losing his ability to speak.

On top of this, Redmayne is charming and natural, descending completely into character. I haven’t seen his other work, but it’s clear that he’ll be a contender during the next award season.

The scenes attempting to explain the science behind Hawking’s theories went into depth enough that they helped me understand his basic concepts and got me pondering such grand ideas. Most notably, though, I walked out of the movie with a greater appreciation for my body. Yes, I may still complain when I drag myself to the gym for a jog, but this movie reminded me of the gratitude I should feel to be able to walk at all.

All in all, The Theory of Everything was educational about the life of a remarkable man, with touching scenes, precise, natural acting and perspective of your own life struggles while inspiring hope. This slightly lesser known film is definitely worth a trip to the theater when you’ve already seen the latest box office blockbuster and are in the mood for a more artistic but still entertaining movie.

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