Sunday, November 30, 2014

"The Theory of Everything," Directed by James Marsh

"The Theory of Everything" is based on "My Life With Stephen" by Jane Wilde Hawking, former wife of Stephen Hawking, British theoretical physicist. Studying at Cambridge University, Stephen (Eddie Redmayne) meets another doctoral student, Jane (Felicity Jones), a literature major who is taken with this awkward but brilliant youth who wants to develop an “equation that explains everything in the universe.” Hawking moves from trying to uncover the beginning of time to theorizing about a cosmos without beginning or end, topics perhaps beyond the abilities of a movie to explain and treated more comprehensively in “A Brief History of Time.” The focus of the film, though, is on the couple's relationship and the challenges related to Hawking's motor-neuron, or Lou Gehrig's, disease. Jane decides that Stephen's inevitable physical deterioration won't get in the way of her love for him. She marries and cares for him and their children as the film chronicles their human triumph, Jane's in keeping the family going and Stephen's in maintaining his zeal for scientific inquiry. Redmayne is remarkable in portraying both Stephen's physical limitations and his boundless intellectual enthusiasm. Their situation, though, does eventually stress Jane, who nevertheless avoids deeper involvement with a choirmaster friend of the family (Charlie Cox)–at least until Stephen leaves her for his nurse (Maxine Peake), and rather quickly at that after her years of devotion. The physicist who attempts to "explain everything" leaves us with a mystery to ponder regarding his own human heart.


Michael J. Mand said...

I find it amazing that Hawking has survived for forty years with a disease that ususlly kills within five years. Here's a quote from Hawking that should provide food for thought: "If one considers the possible constants and laws that could have emerged, the odds against a universe that has produced life like ours are immense." So, I ask, is he an atheist or not?

Jeff Tone said...

In September, Hawking confirmed that he's an atheist.