The Theory of Everything

What do you do on a rainy Wednesday night? You stay in, watch the news and cry for the future of humanity. Or you do what I did, go to the cinema, hoping that the rain and the fact that it’s a Wednesday would have kept people in their houses, so that you can enjoy a relatively empty movie theatre. That’s what I thought and I was wrong. As we tried to find our seats in the already packed theatre, my friend Adriana whispered “it’s because of the Oscar, people will pay to see anything if it has won an Oscar”. I wanted to agree with her, but I was too focused on trying to protect my precious Doritos from an undignified and sad fall, so I simply nodded in agreement. We found our seats, started eating the snacks and once again marvelled at the fact that there wasn’t any empty seats. The movie started right after we had just finished eating (we always do that on purpose, first we eat and then we normally cry our eyes out. Previous example of our genius technique that enhances the movie experience: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies).

Stephen Hawking’s is one of the most famous scientists of our time (and that’s the only science-related thing I’m going to write as I don’t want to offend actual scientists/physicists with my infuriating ignorance) and his story is pretty much known. From the trailer, the movie looked promising and after checking the supporting cast I was intrigued. Still, my biggest concern for the movie was the emotion factor. Hawking’s story is already moving and powerful, so I was worried that the movie would be too much and just go for the easy cry. Do you remember that scene in Tropic Thunder (the most genius comedy EVER) when we get to see a sneak peek from Ben Stiller’s Forrest Gump rip-off “Simple Jack”? Whenever a movie deals with a sensitive issue, I always remember “Simple Jack” and how hilariously bad it was. The Theory of Everything, however, handled everything with a beautiful dignity.

It comes as no surprise that everyone’s focus is on Eddie Redmayne. He has the same acting quality Daniel Day Lewis has; he is able to completely transform himself. I’ve recently watched Lincoln (yes, I’m that late…) and completely forgot that this was not the actual Abraham Lincoln caught on tape. The same goes with The Theory of Everything. I could never imagine that an actor would be so in control of his body. The evolution of his illness is portrayed in such a gradual and subtle way, and I often forgot that this was an actor acting and not the actual Stephen Hawking. I’ve read that the movie made Hawking more sympathetic than he actually was, but I don’t want to focus on that. I haven’t read Jane Hawking’s book, but I’m pretty sure that some parts (like the break up scene) were altered for the sake of good moviemaking. I don’t think that this movie should be approached as an accurate history of what happened. It’s a love story, not a documentary.

Felicity Jones is officially my new crush. Her performance was both dynamic and vulnerable, and I’m glad they wrote Jane as a complex character rather than as an undeveloped, secondary female character. The movie heavily relies on the relationship between Felicity and Eddie and it’s a good thing that they have amazing chemistry that makes you think “I bet those two are really good friends”.  When Harry Lloyd showed up we both immediately whispered to each other “my God, he never ages, right?”. He’s charming and I want him to be in EVERY movie! David Thewlis plays Stephen’s supervisor/friend and I can write paragraph after paragraph discussing what a great actor he is. I’ll just say this: he’s one of those actors who shine even when he has a supporting part in the movie.

Was Eddie Redmayne’s worthy of a Best Actor Oscar? Yes. Yes. Yes. I would have given Eddie Redmayne the Oscar for his rendition of “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” in Les Miserables, in my opinion the strongest scene of the movie and the one song that actually made me cry. I’ve only seen clips from Birdman, but I wasn’t impressed. The Imitation Game (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Foxcatcher (Steve Carell) are next on my list. Now, Eddie Redmayne isn’t the first actor to portray Hawking on screen. In 2004 Benedict Cumberbatch starred in Hawking and he was brilliant in it. I think it’s unfair to compare two very different movies. Hawking is more science-oriented (although quite awkward at some points), whereas in The Theory of Everything Stephen and Jane come first and the science follows. I should also note that the soundtrack is amazing (I’m listening to it while writing this).

As we walked to our car many thoughts crossed my mind: I have a copy of Hawking’s A Brief History of Time that I still haven’t attempted to read and it’s currently sandwiched between a Norton edition of Shelley’s Frankenstein and a tome of The Chronicles of Narnia. It finally stopped raining. I can’t remember the last time I walked out of a movie theatre feeling so inspired. Wrong, I was still in Edinburgh, after Begin Again. I loved The Theory of Everything so much…

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