The Theory of Everything film review

By Kate “One Take Kate” Taylor

Image via Paramount Pictures and Mr Leon Taylor

Arriving to New Zealand cinemas just in time for Valentine’s Day is the incredible Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything. Eddie Redmayne. Oh wow, Eddie Redmayne. This fella had me bawling my eyes out during Les Miserables, especially his heart-breaking rendition of ‘Empty Chairs at Empty Tables’! Redmayne, most would probably generalize, is taking on a huge role that’s nearly impossible to do justice too, and even more so when the subject of said biopic is able to pass an intellectually searing opinion of your performance – on to you! Redmayne is dedicated, never cheesy, only very earnest in showing just what a tough yet inspiring life the outstanding
Stephen Hawking has led. It’s just one of those things then that Hawking’s loving and dutiful wife Jane Wilde Hawking would often be relegated to the background. Even now in the biopic of the man, based on Jane’s memoirs and account of events – Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen; the tremendous performance of Felicity Jones (Girls, The Amazing Spiderman 2) as Jane, is not immediately recognised in its importance and impact. It’s a delicately layered effort by Jones that powerfully anchors in your heart by the final scene – brilliance.

It’s a little known fact that during filming on Theory… Felicity Jones had to be quarantined from other actors between takes. She’s just that charming and bewitching. Image via 

An achingly beautiful love story; of real love – the love that knows the 3am assisting at someone’s sick bedside; the love that knows of quietly supporting through the successes and unfortunately sometimes failures of your beloved as they carve out their path in the world. Then magnify that by like, oh I don’t know; the world scientific stage, ground-breaking astro and quantum physics theories plus the ravages of motor neuron disease and you’ve got yourself a pretty sweet Oscar vehicle there! Sure there’s the ups and downs that the Hawkings faced together and separately; but there’s also a really lovely look at the life of a young person at University, beautifully showing what a wonderful time it can be, becoming your own person while meeting new people and making decisions about what area you want to study and how you wish to contribute to the world. Or maybe that’s just in the 60s – I dunno! But I definitely felt a bit whimsical and rose tinted about my time at University watching it!

Academic Area: Special Effects Make Up – not just the domain of fearsome beasts and gushing blood fonts; Special Effects Make Up has the ability to completely transform individuals into their characters or into different age groups for the same character within the same film. When it’s done poorly it’s all you can talk about; but when it’s good, when it’s so seamless that you’re carried away on the artistry of the actor combined with the illusion of that character’s visual aging and learning of life lessons? It’s a beautiful thing. In The Theory of Everything directed by James Marsh, Eddie Redmayne wears some prosthetics and obviously aging appliances to achieve the reality of Stephen Hawking; but Felicity Jones and her very delicate aging from University ingénue to graceful yet weathered Mother Jane, is magnificent and barely detectable. Congratulations Kristyan Mallett (Guardians of the Galaxy, Harry Potter series) who is the Prosthetics Make Up Supervisor on Theory… – beautiful job!

BEHIND THE SCENES: Bullying on set! What was shooting on Theory…really like?! No! Of course not, Eddie’s just getting his appliances on isn’t he! Image via

Kiwis can claim a little bit of fame; as the screenwriter who has adapted Jane’s story for the screen is New Zealand Screen-Writer Anthony McCarten – woo go you good thing! There’s plenty of star spotting to be had in the ensemble cast too. Game of Thrones fans will be no doubt intrigued to see Viserys Targaryen or Harry Lloyd as Stephen’s very British Uni chum Brian. Which all jokes aside, form the relationship for one of my favourite scenes of Theory…, as Stephen reveals his illness to his best mate or their rowdy night on the town after Stephen becomes a Doctor. Or perhaps you’re more of a Harry Potter fan like myself? Well you’ll be stoked to find your favourite Dark Arts Professor Remus Lupin AKA Moony AKA David Thewlis turning in a loving performance as Stephen’s Professor, Dennis Sciama. Plus get ready for Charlie Cox (Downton Abbey) – he’ll be appearing as Daredevil in the new TV series currently in production; but in Theory… he plays the ‘Oh my gosh are you freaking kidding me!’ good guy Jonathan Hellyer Jones, that smashes any 50 Shades of Grey archetype lust icon out of the water in my humble opinion! Ladies, this is what a GOOD man looks like. Take notes. The Theory of Everything features stunning production, thoughtful, caring performances and a legacy that surely won’t be denied at this year’s Oscar ballot – I definitely recommend The Theory of Everything to everyone!

Eddie Redmayne thinks about how he’ll never need work again after Theory of Everything scoops the pools at
The 2015 Oscars. You will work again though, won’t you? Eddie?! Image via

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