The Theory of Everything is the story of the life of Stephen and Jane Hawking, he of the gigantic brain, she of the enormous capacity to love, to live, and to cope with her husband’s tragic and debilitating illness.
I have not loved a movie so much in a very long time. Perhaps not since Inception. This movie resonated with me completely. When the credits began to roll, I was wiping tears.
The story takes us from grad-school-Stephen’s days at Cambridge when he has not yet decided what topic to pursue for his doctorate through his diagnosis and decline. We see him as a real person, not a legend. A student who came to Cambridge because Oxford was tired of him (their loss!). A brainiac of immense magnitude endearingly falling in love, an accomplished Oxbridge physicist falling down, staying down, then determining not to be held down by his body’s limitations.
There is love and hope and sorrow and grief and coping and not coping and moving along and proclaiming at the last, in better words than this: “If I can do this, you can do something.”
It really does give one pause to consider the level of determination needed to carry on with motorneuron disease for fifty (!) years, and not just to carry on, but to thrive, to write, to teach, to work. Which is not to say that other people with this condition who do not do these things are not coping–God bless them and strengthen them and their families for all good things and hope and love–only that for this particular man to achieve as he has achieved is phenomenal.
As for comments, “Yeah, but he’s an atheist,” whatever. You should be able to learn from whomever you bump into, not only people who are exactly like you. And frankly, if you cannot learn a thing or two from the courage and determination of Stephen Hawking as told in this movie, I am indeed sorry. “Yeah, but they actually get divorced,” please. Please. I knew a person 30 years ago who divorced her husband because he lost hearing in one ear and couldn’t hear her talking in bed, and she didn’t want to move to the other side of the bed. The right side was her side. (She was in a bowling league with me, if that tells you anything.)
Rotten Tomatoes gives Theory an 81% fresh rating. I’m guessing the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will take a look. My guess is Eddie Redmayne for best actor and even a possible best picture nod. Mr. Redmayne’s portrayal of the physical decline of Dr. Hawking is impressive, and reminded me somewhat (though entirely differently) of Dustin Hoffman’s performance in Rain Man. The movie is appropriate for older children, but mine would have been bored and possibly grossed out by various medical situations. I heartily (and even demandingly) recommend you see this movie.