Ben Oliver

Banner image for The Theory of Everything

The Theory of Everything

While there’s life, there is hope.
30 March 2015

A retelling of Stephen Hawking’s early years, his marriage and his battle with Motor Neurone Disease.

Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones prop up this otherwise run of the mill biopic. Their chemistry on-screen in undeniable and Redmayne in particular delivers a stand-out performance. It’s perhaps a well-deserved Oscar.

That said, the way director James Marsh decides to handle the story raises a lot of questions. Hawking appears to be defined by his illness and his romantic life but those aspects are so pedestrian compared to the brilliance of his work. Why try to make this a relatable story when it clearly isn’t?

The Theory of Everything in all its sentimentality forgets to give us anything novel where there are so many chances to do so, especially with such talented actors on board. This is a man who ponders the very creation of the universe, yet we are subjected to his divorce!

There is value in opening a discussion on living with serious illness, but this isn’t the place. Even if it were, the film chooses sympathy over empathy which leaves us feeling teary eyed when the credits roll, but empty in the car on the way home.