Friday, November 7, 2014
Movie Review: 'The Theory of Everything' Explains Nothing, Worst Film of the Year
The Theory of Everything (2014, directed by James Marsh. U.K, English, color, 124 minutes) The above poster for "The Theory of Everything" states that it's the "incredible" story of Jane and Stephen Hawking. Perhaps the story of their 30-year marriage is incredible, but you sure won't see it in this pile of garbage that's being marketed as an uplifting story. This movie, quite frankly, is bullshit.
When you tackle a true story, especially one that includes one of the great physicists in the world, there should be a delicate and sincere touch that makes its delivery less like a cheap Hallmark movie and more like a deeply engrossing and enlightening experience. This film is like a combination of "My Left Foot" and "A Beautiful Mind", but deletes any sort of sincerity those films presented. I'm not saying the aforementioned are the greatest in cinema history, they're just better portrayals of those afflicted with a handicap or mental disease to accomplish greatness.
"The Theory of Everything" could have been anybody's story because its focus is on the person's handicap, making it a cheap emotional vehicle for the masses. Almost every moment in this movie is drowning with so many emotional triggers it's like you're constantly being hit over the head with a sledgehammer of forced empathy. It's less about Hawking's genius and more about making him just a pitiful character that we should feel sorry for time and time again instead of applauding all of his accomplishments (which you wouldn't know about just watching this film).
Tony Award-winner Eddie Redmayne stars as this film's biggest disappointment, the character Stephen Hawking, not the great Stephen Hawking. His performance is OK at best, which would be a groundbreaking performance if it showed as a Sunday night movie special on ABC, but is just average on the big screen. Felicity Jones stars as his wife, who is charming even though she's in the cookie cutter role as the "long suffering" wife.
The melodrama permeates throughout as Jane tries to shed feelings for Stephen's caretaker, all the while Stephen deals with his progressively worsening ASL and falls for his speech therapist. .Eventually, the two divorce and marry the ones who they've tried to repress feelings for in the first place.
I can only imagine Hawking turning over in his wheelchair after watching this garbage, whose own image was exploited for such a cheap piece of soapy, unmotivated mess. The film's sole purpose seemed to be a way to get cheap Oscar bait for Redmayne. Nothing's worse than having an icon being used for a mediocre story/production and "The Theory of Everything" is exactly that.