Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Theory of Everything [A Fat Jesus Quick Hit]

I wish I was smart enough to be able to understand the actual mathematics that physicists use day in and day out. Much less comprehend the type of stuff that Steven Hawkins mind was (and still is) formulating, creating and hypothesizing. It's fascinating to think that a mind can be brilliant enough to think of all these mind-bending questions about our universe. Then come up with universally accepted thought processes about why it's all happening. Steven Hawking's story is one most of us at least partially know, but 'The Theory of Everything' lets us see a different side of the man. We also get a glimpse into the eyes of his first wife, Jane. This film is an interesting look at his life, his triumphs and his faults. It's hard to get fully behind this film though, because the writing, is highly questionable.

'The Theory of Everything' follows the story of Steven Hawking and Jane Wilde (Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones) as Steven Hawking becomes the man we know him as today. In 1963, while attending a party at Cambridge, Hawking meets Wilde and they talk for hours. The two begin to date not long after. All of Hawking's professors are concerned about his lack of a thesis topic. One day, Hawking and his professor Dennis Sciama (David Thewlis) go to see a lecture on black-holes. This inspires Hawking to make his thesis statement to be about time itself. While doing research, Hawking's muscles begin to give out and one day he falls and hits his head on the ground. The doctors tell him that he has motor neuron disease, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. He will eventually lose control of all the muscles in his body, but his mind will remain intact. Warning him, that he only has two years to live. Jane vows to stick with Hawking, they marry and have a son. As his disease begins to worsen, Hawking finally presents his thesis to an examination board and (though there are errors) his theory is revolutionary. The rest is history, as they say, as we get to see a more inmate side of Mr. Hawking and live through the extraordinary life that he has lived.

Oh man, I was into 'The Theory of Everything' for about the first hour of the film. Eddie Redmayne is awesome as Steven Hawking and Felicity Jones as Jane was ever so charming. Redmayne gets the mannerisms of Hawking down to a tee and is charismatic as hell. Redmayne brings out the best in Jones as Jane. As the movie wears on, we see Jane become an even more strong and confident woman, rather than just being Hawking's wife. The lighting, is superb throughout. The night-sky that is shown early on at the second party they attend is beautiful. The tinted light (and dark) colors accent each scene perfectly. The costume design and setting are superb as well. It all adds up to everything looking grand and fantastic. Then somewhere in the second act, everything just kinda got blah. Redmayne is still great and Jones becomes, more, the lead in a given scene. She handles everything quite well. But the writing becomes boring. The scenes start to feel long. This is because there's a lot of unnecessary drama that's added in. There's an arc about Jane joining the choir at church, to help with all that happens with Hawking daily. It felt forced. The family drama is pretty pathetic as well, as everything that ever came up between Jane and extended family felt petty, more than urgent. The story drags immensely and becomes almost a chore to watch. I'm not pretending I'm a screenwriter, but keeping the struggle between Hawking and his illness and Hawking and Jane herself, would've helped this story out greatly. This is not the fault of the actors, as Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones are the lone bright spots in this film, that seemingly falls off the side of a cliff. I just wish flawed films, like this one is, would stop getting added as fluff at award shows due to outstanding performances. If there's not eight true best picture nominations, nominate the five best. Don't go trying to push good films as masterpieces.

'The Theory of Everything' is a long, drawn out story that hits you right in the emotional gut at times, but ultimately leaves the viewer bored. I hate writing that out, be cause the first half or so of the film is an awesome character study, about the life of Hawking outside of his work. How he acted, what he liked to do, his sense of humor and his passion. The second half of this film does this, but in a completely unnatural and drama filled way. The acting is superb and Redmayne and Jones absolutely deserve the nominations and wins they receive. The style, colors, costumes and setting are all pretty good as well. This movie starts of exceptionally, falls off into the ocean and ends on an acceptable note. That nosedive, hurts 'The Theory of Everything' and really does bring the quality of the film way down.

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