Time After Time
The Theory of Everything
Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox, Simon McBurney, David Thewlis, Maxine Peake and Harry Lloyd
Director: James Marsh
Scriptwriter: Anthony McCarten from the book “Traveling to Infinity: My Life With Stephen” by Jane Hawkins
Cinematography: Benoit Delhomme
Composer: Johann Johannsson
Rating: PG 13
Running Length: 123 Minutes
If you mention the name “Stephen Hawking,” people will say “scientist” or “mathematician” or “man in a wheelchair.” Actually, he is all three and has beaten the odds so many times to be currently 72 years old. Hawking was afflicted with a motor neuron disease when he was in his twenties. This disease slowly robs a person of physicality except their mind, and his mind is an exceptional one. Just as Alan Turing does in the upcoming “The Imitation Game,” and builds the first computer to solve a code, Hawking takes time apart to put together a theory on how the world was formed, in essence, a type of Big Bang Theory (no, not the television series.) Time was Hawking’s enemy and also his friend. It robbed from him and also gave time to solve a puzzle.
In “The Theory of Everything,” Hawkins and his school friends try to find a theory that will literally explain everything. A one sentence declaration of how the world was formed. “Boom” being too short. The script is adapted from his first wife, Jane’s book of life with Hawking and follows their lives from his childhood through their children’s adulthood. Eddie Redmayne transforms himself into Stephen Hawking, down to the personality sparkle that is there. Quite similar to Daniel Day Lewis’ transformation in “My Left Foot,” (playing Christy Brown) in which you are amazed at the physical capabilities of the actor.
We see the moment Stephen met a no-nonsense Jane (Felicity Jones) their courtship, finding of his illness, engagement, marriage and children. During this time, Jane gave up her career in the arts to be a mother and wife/caretaker to Stephen, while his career flourished with the publication of his book, "A Brief History of Time." Years pass and Jane is over-whelmed with family and caring for Stephen. We see his digression from walking to one cane, two canes, wheelchair, motorized wheelchair and then wheelchair with computer screen for communication. Jane takes a break and joins a church choir where she meets Jonathan (Charlie Cox) and he becomes a member of the family.
Photography is well done and some scenes tell as much as pages in a book. A wheelchair on the beach, gazing at flowers in a garden, a dinner party where everyone is eating but one needs help. The soundtrack by Johann Johannsson is similar to the piano solo’s in “The Piano” soundtrack by Michael Nyman. Artistically there, but unobtrusive.
Eddie Redmayne is sure to garner an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking. His angular body is just right for the role and he reels the audience in with a devilish grin, too. In a role where speech eventually ends, body language does it all. Felicity Jones as Jane Hawking shows a woman who is small in stature but tall in power and I would have wanted to know more about her early days. Charlie Cox (Jonathan) as the family friend is sympathetic and kind, while a therapist, Maxine Peake (Elaine) is a different personality than Jane and seems to know how to communicate with Stephen at crucial times.
In a secluded world of physics and math, other people are merely window dressing, and we see this attitude throughout the film with Stephen’s friends and their condescending toward the ordinary. Still, when it comes to the arts, someone has to create the paintings people have in their homes, and someone has to write and perform the music scientists listen to as they work. We all have our place. Just as in the Time Theory, we all are there somewhere, molecule by molecule, atom by atom. It’s like a Seek-The-Word puzzle, find the right words to answer the question....where did it all begin? And then, who wrote the puzzle?
Copyright 2014 Marie Asner