Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Theory of Everything

The life of renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, beginning with his days as a student at Cambridge where he met his future wife Jane, who would stand by his side as he battled ALS, which left him paralyzed and took his ability to speak, and developed his groundbreaking scientific theories. With The Theory of Everything, director James Marsh, who has done his best work in documentaries (Man on Wire, Project Nim) but has also contributed some respectable features (Red Riding: 1980, Shadow Dancer), offers a refined but staid and ultimately underdeveloped look into one of the greatest minds of the last half-century. Redmayne succeeds in physically capturing Hawking's appearance but never quite lets you in to who he is, what made him so brilliant, or why he clicked so well for so long with his wife. I thought Jones was strong, but had similar gripes leading me to wonder if the issues didn't stem from Anthony McCarten's screenplay, who adapted Jane Hawking's book. One of the biggest disappointments, however, is the criminally underused supporting cast which includes such stalwarts as David Thewlis, Emily Watson, Christian McKay, and Charlie Cox.
** 1/2 out of ****