Monday, 16 March 2015

The Theory of Everything (2014)

In much the same way that 127 Hours is James Franco’s film and Moon is Sam Rockwell‘s film, so The Theory of Everything belongs to Eddie Redmayne.  Of course Franco only cut his arm off, so he only got as far as nominations for Baftas and Oscars, and Rockwell was never going to get a nod for a Sci-fi film; only by going with the full Illness was Redmayne assured of award.  Not being Sci-Fi meant that Theory would do alright come award season, but given that the film is about such a brilliant scientific mind, the film is rather light on the Sci.

Of course he fully deserves his awards, I didn't for a second think I wasn't watching Stephen Hawking.  Somehow Redmayne manages to capture the brilliance and humour, as well as the physical aspects and emotion of Hawking.  Truly exceptional.  Felicity Jones is also excellent as his wife Jane, always outwardly 100% supportive of Stephen but inwardly often struggling to cope.  She also deserves her BAFTA for leading actress.

Immediately surrounding them are solid performances from David Thewlis and Charlie Cox, but make no mistake, this film is about the relationship between Stephen and Jane, and as such the film is a triumph. (That's probably the most poster-baiting thing I've ever written!).

Look beyond the main two performances though and there's nothing that particularly stands out.  I'm sure it's probably a good adaptation of the book.  Other than getting those two ace performances James Marsh's direction is fine, it just isn't that thoughtful or inventive; this isn't 127 hours, Buried or even The Imposter.  The editing is fine, using a good ole montage to show how the family is coping with each progressive stage of motor neurone disease is basic yet effective.  I'm afraid I don't remember the music at all.

The overall impression is of a very splendid film; not spectacular, but well-crafted and superbly acted.  All the ingredients for a theatre-filler are there: heartbreak, humour, romance and cockle-warming triumph over adversity.  It sounds like I'm being a bit frivolous, but make no mistake, it is a hugely enjoyable film.  But, you know, that's just, like, my opinion man.

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