Friday, November 7, 2014
I’m not going to say a lot about The Theory of Everything and how amazing Eddie Redmayne & Felicity Jones are in it because we are going to hear A LOT about that in the coming months. Suffice to say, it’s a gorgeous movie (maybe even perfect) and they both deliver exceptional performances. I would be very surprised if Mr. Redmayne doesn’t nab the Oscar for this role. Simply attempting the physicality of Stephen Hawking was daunting enough, and Theory was shot out of sequence so Redmayne had to capture any given period in Hawking’s physical deterioration on any given shooting day. He reportedly kept a chart and the result is nothing short of astounding. If, by some cosmic blunder Redmayne doesn't win this year, he's 32 and looks about 16, which is a huge asset for an actor, so he'll be fine.
This film is not a typical biopic. It’s less about Hawking’s scientific achievements on their own and more about how the love of a devoted woman fueled those achievements. I love films about a triumph of the human spirit over devastating circumstances, but usually in those stories the person finds an inner strength on their own. In this story, Stephen is given a brilliant mind and then a body that doesn’t cooperate, so he needs a champion in order to go on.
I expected Theory to be wonderful because it was distributed by Focus Features, who has produced and distributed many of the greatest independent films of all time. Here’s a short list: Dallas Buyers Club, Brokeback Mountain, Away We Go, Beginners, Lost in Translation, Talk to Me, Atonement, Milk. In the past 2 years, Focus has changed its focus and here’s a great article about that. I am all for expanding their reach to films like Fifty Shades of Grey if that adds money to their the coffers to continue distributing extraordinary indies like The Theory of Everything.