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Rediff.com  » Movies » Review: The Theory of Everything is impeccably executed

Review: The Theory of Everything is impeccably executed

Last updated on: January 16, 2015 10:29 IST

Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of EverythingA film as strongly scripted and impeccably executed as The Theory of Everything will be remembered for longer than Stephen Hawking's estimate of the end of time, says Paloma Sharma.

There is nothing extraordinary about The Theory of Everything.

It is a simple story -- part-biopic, part-romance -- about two people as vastly different from each other as any two people can be, who come together against all odds for the love that binds them.

However, The Theory of Everything is a story that needed to be told.

Based on Jane Wilde Hawkings' memoirs titled Travelling to Infiniti: My Life with Stephen, the film goes beyond Stephen Hawking's celebrity and his illness, to explore Stephen Hawking the person, the mind that changed physics as we know it.

The Theory of Everything begins in 1963, Cambridge University, where Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) is seen racing a bicycle with a fellow PhD student.

While Stephen is clearly brilliant and everyone knows it, his friends and PhD guide are worried about his indecisiveness which has left him without a topic for his thesis.

At a party, Hawking, who is a student of astrophysics, meets Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones), another Cambridge student working on her PhD in literature, and the two bond instantly before Jane leaves the party, giving Stephen her phone number.

Their relationship progresses, while Hawking still does not have a topic for his thesis and does not settle on one until his guide, Dennis Sciama (David Thewlis) takes him to a lecture about black holes.

It is here that Hawking deduces that black holes might have been instrumental in the formation of the universe and thus, decides to pick a topic for his thesis:

Time.

As Hawking begins work on his thesis, he falls while walking and learns that he has motor neuron disease. The doctor gives him two years to live.

James Marsh's refined direction weaves a beautiful tale of hope, love and the indomitable human.

He moulds his actors into believable, vulnerable people and steers the script with a steady hand.

Eddie Redmayne, who was last seen as the rather annoying Marius Pontmercy in Les Misérables, embodies Hawking so well that if one were to compare videos of Hawking's lecture and Redmayne's rendition of it, the difference would be visible only through a microscope.

While Redmayne shines with the intensity of a dying star, it is Felicity Jones' consistency that holds the film together.

Jones' transformation from the wide eyed student to a celebrity wife who struggles with her husband's illness is heart-wrenching .

Marsh's charmed storytelling combined with French cinematographer Benoît Delhomme's play on colour and light and attention to detail in every frame makes for a visual treat.

Jóhann Jóhannsson's pleasantly uncomplicated, largely acoustic soundtrack only further stands as testimony to the brilliance that is The Theory of Everything.

That said, the film could have been better off with a shorter runtime.

A great improvement from Interstellar's high handed science jargon, The Theory of Everything talks simple without being condescending.

A film as strongly scripted and impeccably executed as The Theory of Everything will be remembered for longer than Stephen Hawking's estimate of the end of time.

Rediff Rating: 

Paloma Sharma in Mumbai