Exploring the art of storytelling.
“The Theory of Everything” wasn’t a film about physics or ALS; it was a film about love.
“The Theory of Everything” was as much a story about Jane as it was about Stephen Hawking even though the trailers implied otherwise. Stephen was the main character for the first part of the film until his marriage to Jane, and then the main character role shifted to Jane.
There wasn’t any distinct antagonist in “The Theory of Everything.” If anything, ALS was the antagonist. And even though Jane and Stephen didn’t end up together at the end, they still succeeded in beating the disease. They prevailed much longer than they anticipated.
There was not a single character in “The Theory of Everything” that I didn’t like. They were all good people. In the film, Stephen had an amazing group of friends who surrounded him with love and support. This helped to lighten the more upsetting aspects of the film. One example was when Stephen’s friend carried him up a set of stairs on a night they were celebrating.
From the beginning of the film, we saw the subtleties of Stephen’s disease: the way he held his hands, his offbeat gait, and even the way he slightly tiled his head. Eddie Redmayne (Stephen) was amazingly successful at this. He definitely deserved that Oscar. For the full duration of the film, I did not see Redmayne, I saw Stephen. Redmayne played one of the most challenging roles I’ve ever seen. For the majority of the film, he distorted his face and speech to exemplify the physical effects of ASL. What made Redmayne’s acting extra powerful was that he was still able to show an array of emotions under those physical constraints. Above all else, Redmayne’s performance was very respectful, never once mocking Stephen Hawking or his disease.
The lighting throughout “The Theory of Everything” was very bright. It was pleasing to the eye. This symbolized love, happiness, simplicity, and peace. It was a great choice made by the cinematographer, Benoît Delhomme.
Several times, the film had the appearance of an old home video. There were scratches and dust on the screen. These shots were short and choppy. These distinct moments emphasized that “The Theory of Everything” was about a family- something we can all relate to.
In the middle of “The Theory of Everything,” once Jane and Stephen got married, the pacing of the film slowed down. Not much was happening other than Stephen’s steady decline. While this part of the film didn’t bore me, I wouldn’t be surprised if some people lost interest. The film picked up again when Jonathan came into the story.
Even though I loved how much Jane cared for Stephen, I still cheered for her and Jonathan to get together. Deep down, I wanted both protagonists to be happy because I sympathized with both of them equally.
The best endings are those that are bittersweet. They’re both pleasing, but painful because we don’t want to let go entirely. We are moving on from something we enjoyed, and while it’s the right thing to do, it’s not easy. “The Theory of Everything” had one of those endings. Jane and Stephen were no longer together, but they still loved each other and the kids they created. They didn’t regret anything.
I loved the very ending: how they rewound back to the beginning of the film to the first time Jane and Stephen met. It was very fitting and clever, mimicking that of Stephen Hawking’s theory of the beginning of time. It was also an emotional ride, bringing back past memories. I was on the verge of tears by the end.
“The Theory of Everything” might be the most beautiful love story I have ever seen or read. It was evident that Jane and Stephen loved one another unconditionally. So much so that they fought Stephen’s disease together. In the end, they went their separate ways, but they did what was best for each of them, and it wasn’t easy. They will always keep that love.
“The Theory of Everything” was absolutely beautiful, and I recommend that everyone watches it. It taught me about endurance and love. It is a timeless story.