Movie review: "The Theory of Everything" is an ambitious love story

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

The Thanksgiving release of “The Theory of Everything” was a good indication that “Awards Season” is in full-swing. The story of Stephen Hawking and his wife Jane is the most unabashed kind of Oscar bait, but it’s also quite moving.

Eddie Redmayne (“Les Miserables”) portrays the world’s most famous living physicist from his days as a brilliant young student at Cambridge, where he meets and is immediately beguiled by Jane (Felicity Jones).

Their young romance is interrupted when Stephen is diagnosed with a debilitating motor neuron disease that slowly deteriorates his ability to control his own body.

Director James Marsh, who is best known for directing the Oscar-winning documentary “Man on Wire,” does an admirable job, though the pitfalls of the biopic are present.

It’s an impossibility to tell the story of a life in the course of a film, let alone two. “Theory of Everything” is a love story at its core — and a moving and bittersweet one at that — but it’s also trying to convey the birth of Hawking as one of the century’s great minds.

The Cambridge days tread in the territory of “Good Will Hunting” or “A Beautiful Mind,” while the eventual strain of Hawking’s fame is like the most intellectual VH1 “Behind the Music” ever.

If it’s uneven and a bit too ambitious, there’s little fault to be found in the lead actors. Redmayne conveys the frustration of a body that won’t cooperate with a mind. Jones is also awards-worthy, elevating Jane above “stand by your man” trope through sheer will.

"The Theory of Everything"

Now playing

3 stars out of 4