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Quickie Review - The Theory Of Everything

James Marsh manages to take one of the few living enigmas and turns his story into a scandalous TV movie. What worked for Man on Wire, doesn't work in the traditional film medium, because we want to be dazzled. Spending 30-40 minutes showing us Hawking's brilliance and human side, all literally and figuratively comes crashing to a halt and the movie then becomes nothing more than an episode of Mad Men without the drinking. There is no doubt Eddie Redmayne has joined a long list of method actors who transformed himself into a character, but it can't hide the fact that he doesn't add much to the last hour of the film, other than to show that he's a man. The final few scenes are filled with every gimmick possible to hide the fact this based on a book that calls him out for his indiscretions, while showing the real power and why we have his mind today, was and always will be Jane's doing.

The movie is really about Jane Hawking and that isn't a bad thing. While I doubt that the real Mrs. H was as strikingly beautiful and unflinching in her devotion, Felicity Jones turns in a career changing performance. Is it Oscar worthy? Probably, but only because her transformation is actually more challenging and quite more painful to watch. The reason is, it's selfless to start, but the realization she was wrong, which probably wasn't present in the book, is the power of the movie. Jones handles it with such care, you're never not impressed. We all know the story, but her humble attitude and her desire for credit will hit home for anyone who has administered care without praise or reward. In the end, the movie fails in telling the story we want to hear, but maybe the human side, warts and all, is what sells tickets. Like the world in Hawking's mind, it's foreign to me.


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