Director: James Marsh
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones
Looks can be deceiving. Going by advertising, James Marsh's The Theory of Everything would appear to be a film about Stephen Hawking's groundbreaking work as a theoretical physicist and cosmologist, accomplished even as a motor neuron disease began to ravage his body; a story, in other words, of a "great man" overcoming adversity. In actuality, Hawking's work is there to provide some context and color, but it's not really the story. This isn't a film about the science, or really the scientist. It's a film about a marriage, told with no small degree of conventionality, but also told with sensitivity and grace. While most films about important men in history relegate their female leads to the thankless position of "woman behind the man," Theory is as much (if not actually more) about Jane Wilde Hawking as it is about Stephen Hawking, and does more than just give glancing attention to the struggles, sacrifices, and private agonies of being the supportive spouse. It's sad that in 2014 that should seem so refreshing, but that should take nothing away from the film which, while flawed, is nevertheless a moving portrait of a man, a woman, and their union.