Monday, 9 February 2015

The Theory of Everything (2014)


Stephen Hawking: There should be no boundaries to human endeavor. We are all different. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there's life, there is hope.

"The Theory of Everything" is the story of the most brilliant and celebrated physicist of our time, Stephen Hawking, and Jane Wilde the arts student he fell in love with whilst studying at Cambridge in the 1960s. Little was expected from Stephen Hawking, a bright but shiftless student of cosmology, given just two years to live following the diagnosis of a fatal illness at 21 years of age. He became galvanized, however, by the love of fellow Cambridge student, Jane Wilde, and he went on to be called the successor to Einstein, as well as a husband and father to their three children. Over the course of their marriage as Stephen's body collapsed and his academic renown soared, fault lines were exposed that tested the lineaments of their relationship and dramatically altered the course of both of their lives.

Undoubtedly, Stephen Hawking is one of modern science's greatest minds, even perhaps the greatest. His life is not the first time that attracted filmmakers to be able to tell his story and how this brilliant mind came to be and managed to live for so many years with a fatal disease. His extraordinary life achievements and his willpower to preserve for so long, is not only ideolized but something to give humanity hope and great faith. 

James Marsh's subtle and tender approach on Hawking's story is a mere reminder of how cosmic situations can occur within a man's lifetime; from the flamboyance of the Cambridge genius onto the mehcanics of dealing with motor neuron disease. Marsh doesn't just let you into the excruciating agony that the disease upheld for Hawkings, but rather makes you a private spectator on his most intimate emotional moments once he was diagnosed. The director deviates from suger-coated the truth on how Hawking's personal life unfolded through the years as well, as this would misrepresent and misdirect the basic elements that encircled what Hawkings is; a genuine pragmatist, who never ceases to search for the truth. 

Quite frankly, this is not a story that has not been known or told before, but the true challenge came about the protagonist, Stephen Hawkings himself. In the film, Hawkins is portrayed by the skilled and tremendously unique, Eddie Redmayne. Having seen Redmayne both on film, TV and stage, I must confess that I was intrigued when I first heard of his casting. This role is not just a challenge for any actor physically, but would Redmayne be able to prove up to the mental obligations that came along with the role? It is that glorious moment when you sit in the cinema room, and once you see Redmayne's sweet and humble face, extol that "while there is life, there is hope", it is in that moment when tears swell and roll down your cheeks without you even noticing. It is in the moment when he mechanically tells his ex-wife Jane (Felicity Jones), to "look at what we have accomplished" whilst they both look at their three children running around in the Royal Gardens. 

It is a wondrous feeling when you get to see actors like Redmayne and Jones,who seem to have blossomed on screen in recent years. Both share the flare of British actors, who came from small BBC roles, flourished into US TV Cable roles, then went onto do a film big budget films here and there, whilst keeping their indie Brit roles at hand too, doing a bit of stage on the side once their schedules allowed them to be back home for that too, and finally and ultimately both finding their way into their role that would give them both the Oscar nod, along with a string of many other awards to come by. 

What truly is overwhelming though with 'The Theory of Everything' is the ability to humanize even the most hopeless of situations. The sheer and tremendous human sensitivity that Marsh fights to leave emblazed on screen, when everything else seems to be fruitless and without a reason. The film is an anthem to human existence and the single thing that keeps it alive; hope. 

This is not just a film about the Big Bang or black holes and Creators of the Universe, but about the human existence and the unfathomable strive to preserve. 

Personally, I believe that Redmayne and Jones, as well as Marsh, deserve whole heartedely the Oscar nominations, albeit it is my personal preference of Michael Keaton receiving the golden statue for the Best Actor category. Likewise, the film is a glorious one, but equally so it is also my belief that it is not as strong a contender to go over ahead 'Boyhood' or 'Birdman' this year. But regardless of whoever does take the statue and the glory home, this is the gem of movies for this year. A humble sensitive hymn to humanity, that everyone should get to watch.


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