The Theory of Everything (2014)

 

Reviewer: Charity Bishop

 

Based on Jane Hawking's memoirs, this film follows her romance with Stephen, his diagnosis with an incurable disease, and the struggles they face while he surpasses all scientific expectations, both in his personal life and his scientific theories.

 

Young Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) has a spectacular career ahead of him in science -- if he can just choose what he intends to write about for his thesis! His professors think him brilliant but somewhat lazy, able to turn out advanced calculations with little forewarning or thought, yet his concepts are not fully formed. Still, Stephen has other things on his mind -- he wants to find "a theory that explains everything" ... and he happens to be falling in love with Jane (Felicity Jones). Their romance is middling along, full of exciting conversations and evening walks, when his life changes forever.

 

His legs give out. His arms won't work to brace his fall. Stephen lands flat on the ground, breaking his glasses. They rush him to the hospital and diagnose him with an incurable disease that will eat away his muscles and kill him within two years. "What about my mind?" he asks. The doctor assures him it'll be untouched... but it won't matter in the long term. Devastated, Stephen pushes Jane away... but she won't have it. "I love you," she says, "and I want whatever time we have left." And thus, they embark on their greatest adventure, the challenges of his physical limitations weighing upon them, while his mind soars to impossible new heights.

 

This film is, in a word, heartbreaking. A brilliant man, held captive in a weak body, who goes on to break the boundaries of science, win numerous awards, father three children, and surpass everyone's expectations, is both heartening and sad. That he is trapped is awful; that he transcends is marvelous. Mistakes are made. Sacrifices are given. Their romance is both the glue that holds them together and the thing that tears them apart, when hardship leads them toward other people. The story is more about their lives than his scientific theories, although it does present a few of his better-known thesis ideas.

 

Christians may hesitate to view a film about the world's foremost atheist, but they shouldn't; Hawking's ideas deserve to be heard and considered, and Jane is a perfect foil for him, a woman of faith who hopes one day he might share her belief in God. The film does not push an agenda or preach; it simply presents him for what he believes, and who he is (although his personality is made less severe here, to make him more likable). It's an inspiring story of how physical limitations cannot constrict the mind.

     
Sexual Content:
Several references to whether a man can still have sex (the answer is yes). Implications of an adulterous affair (off-screen, but they admit they have feelings for one another). We briefly see inside a Penthouse magazine.
 
Language:
OMG is used a few times; a handful of mild profanities.
 
Violence:
A man falls and hurts himself badly, breaking his glasses in the process; he coughs up blood and nearly chokes to death.

 
Other:
Stephen doesn't believe in God, and dismisses conversations about him, though his wife hopes he'll find faith one day.