The most anticipated World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, The Theory of Everything was anything but a disappointment. A story of romance between physicist Stephen Hawking and his ex wife Jane, The Theory of Everything is told through Jane’s perspective, based upon her memoir “Traveling to Infinity: My Life With Stephen”. No time is wasted in the film, as Jane and Stephen quickly fall in love, before Hawking is diagnosed with ALS at the age of 21 in his time at Cambridge. The enlightening part about this film was Jane and Stephen’s aura, rooted in their sense of humor, which was often dry and highly intelligent. The two meet with highly contrasting views of God and the existence of time, which seemingly never stops them from falling in love and maintaining the adoration of one another through the years of Stephen’s degeneration. Screenplay writer Anthony McCarten reminds each of us in his work, the power of humor and optimism amidst any sort of chaos or uncertainty. McCarten highlights family situations with tactfulness and a respectable manner, although I couldn’t help but ask trivial questions about the day-to-day that they faced together, which is not revealed in its 123 minutes. The emphasis of the film is not on Hawking’s disadvantage, but rather his heroic embrace of life alongside Jane. I admire the writing of film critic Tim Robey when he states:
“We wouldn’t want to distort Hawking’s personality, which is certainly on the sunny side. But this film is oddly lacking in the sense of inner torment a brilliant mind might – surely, must – feel at bodily betrayal. It retreats away from Stephen’s point of view almost from the moment he heaves his bent frame into a wheelchair.” – source
While there are many questions and unknowns to be had in comprehending Hawking’s continually evolving Theory, one certainty that I left with was that both Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones should expect lead actor and actress Academy nominations come January, respectively. Redmayne’s performance of a physically deteriorating Hawking was fantastic, while the bumps and turns of the emotional roller coaster for Jane was captured in stunning shots focused on the courageous eyes and strong poise of Jones. A standing ovation at TIFF speaks volumes, much more than my own opinion, but I firmly stand by my proclamation that this is the best film of 2014 and will likely be rewarded in the coming months. A truly complicated equation in film includes the presence of science, humor, intelligence, and love, which are all evident in “The Theory of Everything”. And while it would feel all-too-inauthentic to call it brilliant, there is one thing that this film is worth for you. It’s time.
It must also be said that the soundtrack for this film, done by Johann Johannsson, is fabulous. Not only does he have the best composer name of them all, but he guides the audience through the film with beauty and splendor. Subscribe to listen via Spotify here.