The Theory of Everything movie review
Did you see The Theory of Everything? It’s… you know, it’s fine.
The problem with this movie is it’s engaging while being not very interesting. Dr. Hawking is smart, funny and as far as I can tell, unkillable – a movie about the most inspiring man of our time should be amazing, not a passable character study.
The movie is just over two hours and you will feel every single minute – and not in an especially good way. Sure, The Theory of Everything does have weight, so some moments feel longer than others, but for a movie with the word ‘everything’ in the title, it sure feels like they left a ton of stuff out. For example, if you’re wondering how Dr. Hawking’s children were affected by his work or his illness or his fame… that’s not in the movie. I guess that’s because the flick is supposed to be a story about how he and his wife Jane met, fell in love, got married and inevitably got divorced, so that would be out-of-place… But if the movie is about their relationship, then I really need to understand why they broke up, because that’s pretty much the climax/end of the movie. We do see the burden that his wife felt as a caregiver, but if she stopped loving him as a wife because she felt her role had been subjugated to that of a nurse or because she prefered the music teacher or… I don’t exactly know why they got divorced and it’s a problem for me. And really, the movie is about his illness and how it affected Jane… sort of – this movie also doesn’t really clue you in on why the fell in love or what they even liked about each other in the first place. They had a nice date at a ball once… I can tell you that for sure. For the most part, The Theory of Everything is a very unsatisfying look at how ALS affected Stephen and Jane with smatterings of his professional accomplishments and some family stuff thrown in – the movie doesn’t really give their relationship, how they felt about each other, the time it deserves. It’s just not there.
Also, I’m pretty sure this movie has more (and longer) montages than Captain America: The First Avenger, and that’s saying something.
Then there’s thing they did with color. Sometimes, things in this movie are blue. I have no idea why. (Especially in the first third of the movie.) And there was also some stuff that was very yellow. I just didn’t understand what they were trying to say and it seemed so intentional… I just didn’t get it. I wish I could better articulate this confusion I experienced, but I can’t – the movie doesn’t give me the tools to do so and my brain is coming short at making up the difference.
The reason to see this movie is the performances of Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones. Redmayne won the Best Actor Oscar (I tend to think Michael Keaton was robbed for Birdman, but whatever) and Jones was nominated for Best Actress, both deserved accolades, but not enough spare the audience from the shortcomings of the screenplay.
What you have in The Theory of Everything is two really good performances that elevate what probably would have been a bad or even mediocre movie up to a good movie worth seeing just to see Redmayne and Jones do their thing. If you’re all about biopics, character studies and performances (or theoretical physics), then you’ll probably want to check this flick out, but everybody else should probably steer clear of this one. I’m giving it a 6.5 out of 10 – you’d have to drag me kicking and screaming to sit through this one again.