‘The Theory of Everything’ Creates Oscar Buzz


Promotional poster for film "The Theory of Everything" created by Focus Features.

By Isabelle Kantz

With the combination of Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones‘ performances, director James Marsh‘s talent and outstanding cinematography, “The Theory of Everything” beautifully and delicately captures the story of renowned physicist Stephen Hawking.

“The Theory of Everything” is a British romantic and biographical movie, based off the memoir “Traveling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen” by Hawking’s ex-wife, Jane Wilde Hawking. An article by The Hollywood Reporter explains how Wilde Hawking had a lot of say in the transformation of her memoir into an Oscar-worthy movie.

After a glimpse into Hawking’s future, the film begins in Cambridge in 1963, with a young Stephen Hawking racing his friend on their bicycles. As the movie continues, Hawking meets and falls in love with fellow classmate Jane Wilde. The two grow closer, and Hawking begins to lose control over some of his muscular movements.

While walking back to his dorm one afternoon, Hawking’s legs fumble and cause him to severely hit his head on the pavement. He spends the night in the hospital and is told he has motor neuron disease and two more years to live.

As the film continues, Wilde and Hawking must face the challenges the disease brings them. As the stress of caring for Hawking while also earning her Ph.D. in medieval Spanish poetry gets to Wilde Hawking, the two also have to cope with their three children and Hawking’s rising world fame.

Felicity Jones as Jane Wilde and Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking in "The Theory of Everything".  Photographer: Liam Daniel, Focus Features

Felicity Jones as Jane Wilde and Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything”.
Photographer: Liam Daniel, Focus Features

Since April 2013, lead actor Redmayne researched motor neuron disease and Hawking’s physicality to play this part, even meeting with Hawking himself to further his research. Already awarded Best Breakout Performance at the Hollywood Film Awards, Redmayne catches the attention of millions with his portrayal as Hawking.

Redmayne met with a movement coach regularly to capture the behavior of Hawking’s disease. The two studied the different movements Redmayne would need to do in order to accurately portray the illness.

For example, Redmayne’s upper arm would be stiff while his hand was spastic and shaky. In an interview with the LA Times, Jones said “When a scene ended, you’d hear this exhalation and realize just how much energy Eddie was consuming while barely moving.”

The film does a good job teaching the audience that although life will present challenges, anything is possible. While watching this awe-spiring performance, the viewer is left feeling motivated to cross any obstacles life may have.

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for “thematic elements and suggestive material” according to the Rotten Tomatoes website.