Mini Reviews (December 2014)
The Theory of Everything
The Theory of Everything (December 3/14)
The Theory of Everything details the relationship and eventual marriage that ensues between Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) and his first wife, Jane (Felicity Jones), with problems inevitably ensuing as Hawking's health slowly-but-surely deteriorates in the wake of his ALS diagnosis. It's riveting subject matter that's employed to disappointingly tepid, run-of-the-mill effect by director James Marsh, as the filmmaker, working from a script by Anthony McCarten, has infused the narrative with a pervasively bland vibe that's reflected in the movie's myriad of generic attributes - with The Theory of Everything, for the most part, boasting the feel of an endeavor crafted entirely from a blueprint for films of this nature (ie this is strictly a paint-by-numbers inspirational biopic). There's little doubt, however, that the movie remains watchable for much of its first half, as Redmayne's often astonishing performance proves effective at compensating for the various deficiencies within the proceedings - with the inherently fascinating trajectory of Hawking's disease and career carrying the narrative through it's more overtly hackneyed spots. Given that the film is based on Jane Hawking's book, however, it's perhaps not surprising to note that The Theory of Everything, past a certain point becomes more about Jane's trials and tribulations than Stephen's - which ensures that the movie eventually progresses from mildly watchable to flat-out tedious (ie Jane predictably just isn't as interesting a presence as Stephen). The emotional revelations of the final stretch are consequently drained completely of their impact, and it's ultimately difficult to label The Theory of Everything as anything more than a particularly blatant bit of Oscar bait.