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The Theory of Everything: A Review

Being an arts student, I am not one to be so enthused by a film about physics. Anything to do with science really just sets me up for a good nap. However, James Marsh’s film The Theory of Everything left me reeling. Not only does Marsh report the life of Dr. Stephen Hawking, a scientist who, as the film highlights, never fails to intrigue even the least scientific people. But he also makes physics seem interesting as after the film I wanted to learn about atoms and gravity and whatnot….

The film captures the wonder of Cambridge University with the old buildings and cobbled side-streets. This is coupled with the incredible portrayal of Jane Hawking by Felicity Jones (Like Crazy) whose dedication to the scientist through his diagnosis and life with motor neurone disease (MND) is admirable. Indeed I spent the whole film with a lump of admiration in my throat, trying constantly not to start bawling in the middle of Liverpool ONE Odeon.

I particularly liked how the film’s science is unforced upon the audience. I did not feel out of my depth with it, and yet in many ways it made me want to be a scientist at Cambridge (never going to happen.) Although my presumptions before seeing the film were that it was going to be a scientific film in itself; these are disregarded by its portrayal of, quite simply, a difficult marriage.

The acting of Eddie Redmayne (playing Hawking) must not be overlooked. It appears that, following his performance in Les Miserables, Redmayne’s talents are endless. The responsibility of performing as a man who, not only is a globally famous and will be forever, but is also alive and will inevitably have watched the film himself, must have been intense. Yet Redmayne deals with his role with a maturity that gives him authority throughout.

I would recommend this film to anyone (except young children) as it will evoke sadness, wonder, intrigue and even shock at some points. Marsh and his two leading actors should be thoroughly congratulated on conveying the search for the theory of everything.

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