The Theory of Everything (2014) is the story of Stephen Hawking’s (Eddie Redmayne) relationship with his first wife, Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones).
The movie begins with a blissfully active scene featuring a smiling Hawking racing bikes on the way to a mixer at Cambridge. A man I considered a mentor was struck by ALS and literally over the course of a few months he went from a vibrant soul running into the office with a story of some strange thing that happened to only being able to move one finger. To think of Dr. Hawking as the once vibrant figure will be a stretch for many modern viewers and the joy with which the writers imbue and Redmayne acts him is just a testament to a strong spirit that became trapped in a body no longer willing to cooperate. We see the stumbles and the hints that something isn’t right but while we know the outcome we see Hawking writing them off as inconsequential. Jane spots Hawking across the room at the party in the opening scene and there’s instant attraction though her friend thinks he’s incredibly odd for his participation in protests. A Ph.d student, the immediate concern of Hawking’s friends and Professor Dennis Sciama (David Thewlis) is the topic of his thesis. When Sciama takes Hawking to a lecture about black holes, his path becomes clear. As Hawking works on his thesis, he takes a fall and when the doctor reveals that he has Motor Neuron Disease (then already known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease), the mind is Hawking’s first concern and not the life expectation of 2 years. The doctor assures him that his mind will remain the same. The Theory of Everything is as much about Hawking’s disease as it is about his relationship, and the deterioration thereof, with Jane.
The Theory of Everything is a beautiful movie. From the massively ornate architecture to the gorgeous 60’s fashions, it is a subtle movie connected to another time where eras are fluid. The actors play a couple falling in love while around them the music characterizes their path to a connection that is cerebral. Acting from all players in the piece rank in the outstanding range. Redmayne won an Oscar for best actor for his portrayal of the late physicist. Jones’ depiction of an idealistic young woman determined to be everything for the man she loves was both poignant and heart breaking.
I have read, viewed and reviewed some of Hawking’s work but to see The Theory of Everything put a new spin on the late genius. I have literally no criticism for this film. It was one that, until making a list for Towel Day, I hadn’t considered viewing but am glad I did. While I understand the movie is highly fictionalized, the spirit rang true to it’s subject who lived for many years beyond the projected two years passing away earlier this year at the age of 76.
The Theory of Everything is available as a DVD, Blu-ray and on Amazon Instant Video.
Better World Books Reading Challenge – A Book that Rewrites History
Billy the Kid: The Endless Ride by Michael Wallis is a retelling of William Antrim’s story based on what is known of his life from cradle to grave and a look at the events that contributed to his outlook on life and interaction with the growing western population.
At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson is a collection of stories that deal with everyday historical aspects. Bill Bryson, who lives in a historic parish in Norfolk, tours his house with his readers and talks about the life of the previous owner. Let At Home: A Short History of Private Life take you on a journey into the past.
The Seven Year Dress: A Novel by Paulette Mahurin, is the story of Helen Stein. Helen is a teenager ripped from her family and sent to Auschwitz and lives its horrors but also finds a kindness and selflessness in humanity that helped her survive against the odds.
In The Earth Bleeds Red by Jackson Baer, Scott Miller’s daughter, Ashley, is kidnapped and presumed dead. Her boyfriend is the only witness and is, to the police, the obvious suspect until three other missing girls are found dead bearing the mark of a serial killer known to the FBI. With the clock ticking on Ashley’s life, will she be found in time?
In Gables Court by Alan S. Kessler, Samuel Bass moves from New England to Gables Court in Miami. When he meets Katie, he’s a virgin waiting for marriage and the attraction, for him, is instant. She’s a college student looking to experience life and wants to have sex without strings. In the meantime, Bass’s life is complicated when the young lawyer’s new clients attract the interest of his crime lord father.
Now available in audiobook format narrated by the fabulous Travis Henry Carter who fully embodies the douchy but likable Brett Cornell. Click here to check it out on Audible. Seriously, these books are funny and a call back to the kind of guy you don’t see much anymore. Give the Brett Cornell series a shot.
Review originally posted on June 9, 2012
In Brett Always Wins by David D’Aguanno, private investigator and “Charter Member of Unscrupulous Bastards R Us” (Kindle location 1974), Brett Cornell, is a prime piece of all-American beef who has deemed instant gratification a way of life. He’s irresistible; just ask him; he’ll tell you. When a one-night stand calls to say that her husband is trying to kill her, Brett knows the real reason, she’s back for round two. Brett takes her case and finds himself in the middle of a murder mystery. Nothing the great Brett Cornell can’t handle.
In Queenie’s Teapot: A Political Satire by Caroline Steele, random British citizens are called upon to step into governmental roles for a three-year term. Their roles are determined by their skill set, but what about Queenie Mason, a woman without a skill set? Naturally, she’ll lead the country.