Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Theory of Everything (Britain, 2014)

Nine Things About the Movie The Theory of Everything.

1. This piece of obvious Oscar-bait is about the life of famous physicist Stephen Hawking. And I feel really conflicted about it.

2. There are some great individual things about this movie - some terrific cinematic sequences and emotional moments. The soundtrack is lush and beautiful.

3. But it's mostly a love story. A fake one.

4.  The movie tries to give the audience a taste of what Hawking did to physics. But it ends up feeling very vague, and if you don't already know his theories, then you just end up with the idea that he was really smart. You don't understand how revolutionary he actually was.

5. It's also a "greatest moments" look at the development of his motor-neuron disease, and how he went from a healthy 21-year-old to the famously wheelbound man with a wrecked body and robotic voice.

6. The rest of the movie is a tired, by-the-numbers romance about a woman who stands by her man and together they overcome all odds. A lot of the relationship depicted in the movie never happened in real life, including how it began and ended. Not even close. The film just invents a new relationship for them.

7.  I admit, I couldn't help but spend part of the movie trying to figure out which actors played which characters in the "Harry Potter" movies. It was kind of distracting.

8.  Eddie Redmayne (who isn't very well known in America) plays Hawking. It's easily the best acting I've seen in 2014. The way he slowly contorts his body as the disease progresses is one of the best physical performances I've ever seen in my life. It should be illegal for him not to win some acting awards. He almost single-handedly makes the movie worth seeing.

9.  As a showcase for some cinematography and acting, the movie is great.
 As an inspirational love story, this movie is melodramatic and saccharine. You know, the usual.
As a scientific biography, this movie is terrible, and almost insulting.
If you watch this movie, make sure you know what you're getting.