‘Theory of Everything’ is a moving success

It’s not often that a historical biopic has the ability to surprise you. The story can teach you things about a person you never knew, but rarely does it shift direction so vastly from what it appeared to be on the surface.

“The Theory of Everything” is the charming story of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) and his wife Jane (Felicity Jones) as they struggle with the limitations in Hawking’s motor skills due to ALS disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).

ALS is a specific disorder known as motor neuron disease in the United Kingdom that weakens the muscles and results in difficulty speaking, swallowing and breathing.

The film is not so much about Stephen Hawking’s work in the scientific field, as it is a story of defying odds and achieving a successful life despite the limitations that befall you.

It paints Hawking as a complicated man and, thanks to the skillfully directed set-up, we grasp onto his hardship. Hawking’s doctor tells him that he has no more than two years to live, which sends him into a place of despair.

But Jane will not let him be discouraged. She gives him the gift of love and vows to stay by his side for as much time as they have, adding a beautiful love story to an already interesting film.

“The Theory of Everything” is not about the science that Hawking is so heavily involved in, though it is talked about extensively. Instead, it is about the characters as human beings, not as super geniuses, something handled very carefully by director James Marsh.

Marsh puts all of his focus on showing the audience how Hawking lived and the kind of person he was with his peers and family. The characters are well balanced out and makes Jane as much of a main character as it does Stephen, which gives the stars equal ground to stand on in order to shine.

Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones were both nominated for Oscars this year for their roles, with Redmayne winning the top acting honors. Both actors are truly deserving of the award but for different reasons.

Redmayne was given a giant physical challenge by playing a character who was confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak or move for a large portion of the film. His ability to convey deep emotion and remain convincing as Hawking is nothing short of amazing.

Jones doesn’t have a “showy” role to work with, but she plays Jane in an understated manner, making even her small moments count as she mourns her husband’s disability.

Even on a technical level, “The Theory of Everything” is above average. The music written by Johann Johannsson is worth listening to outside of the film. In addition, the cinematography uses radiant colors to make scenes that could have been average looking a chance to brand themselves in minds of viewers.

With its Blu-Ray release coming up next month, I’d strongly recommend giving “The Theory of Everything” your time and attention. It is not the movie it appears to be on the surface, but once you pull back its layers it is full of impactful and inspirational feelings. For Calvin students, SAO will be showing the film on March 6 for $2.