Review: “The Theory of Everything”

A sweet equation for all.

If anyone is up to the task of figuring out one all encompassing equation that explains EVERYTHING… it’s someone in love. Stephen Hawking is, of course, a man who has taken it upon himself to spend his life working on this problem (as I’m sure other scientists have), developing theory after theory, getting closer and closer to some sort of an answer. For one of the smartest people on the planet, I bet it’s easy to miss the forest for the trees, if you catch my drift.

It is in the final moments of The Theory of Everything — the motion picture about his first marriage — that the adapted version of Professor Hawking ends up with a simple and very sentimental summation of everything. Without giving anything away, it’s a revelation akin to learning that the point of the journey is the journey itself. No, Hawking is still looking for something a bit more mathematical, but as far as we can understand, his conclusion in the confines of a biographical film feels right, for now anyways.

After seeing the movie, someone said that they were expecting more science, possibly an exploration of the cosmos or some such thing. Interstellar this movie is not. This is a story about the chemistry and conflict of a relationship that ends up defining two people. Very down to Earth, I must say.

Knowing that Professor Hawking has a paralyzing illness, I was afraid that the disability aspect would be played up for melodramatic and exploitative purposes. Instead, his situation was used perfectly for development and progression of character and plot. Emotive sequences as subtle as a passive aggressive dinner or tear inducing as a humble breakup are performed amazingly, and never soiled by overdoing the handicap. For someone whose personality and wit shine through the voice of a computer, the filmmakers did right.

Never too schmaltzy, The Theory of Everything treats its audience almost as intelligently as its subject matter. That being said, it is not an idiots guide to a person’s life or life itself, but rather a boiled down thesis statement. Most worthy of a B+ grade. We’ve elected Presidents with lower scores, you know.

4 / 5 *s

Originally published in The Hammond Daily Star.

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