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Friday, 16 January 2015

The Theory of Everything

In the recent past, most of you would have heard or experience something to do with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) thanks to the Ice Bucket Challenge.  Also, many of you would have heard of Stephen W Hawking purely thanks to references in The Big Bang Theory.  Sadly, few of us have read A Brief History of Time or have followed one the most brilliant minds of our time – I hope I am wrong.

The Theory of Everything (TTOE) is a great way for those who aren’t aware of Hawking to make up for lost time.  Not so much from a perspective of Physics but more to do with what Hawking’s personal life was from his time in Cambridge in the 1960s to the release of his book and of course his relationships.

Lets cover the good parts about TTOE before we go down to what I felt was amiss.  Eddie Redmayne as Hawking was simply brilliant.  A performance that definitely deserved the Golden Globe although it pained me to see Jake Gyllenhaal losing out.  Put a gun to my head and I would say Gyllenhaal over Redmayne but we could discuss that later.  For now Redmayne was definitely sensational.

The script doesn’t make life complicated for the viewer.  It focuses more on Hawking’s personal life and relationships and the aspects surrounding his thirty year relationship with his first wife Jane.  It puts a lot of emphasis on Jane Hawking (Felicity Jones) and how she copes up with her decision to stay with the man she loves despite knowing that he may not survive for more than a couple of years.

Felicity Jones performance as Jane Hawking was definitely up there and probably deserves the Academy nomination that was announced yesterday.  One may find it a bit surprising because there is little or no flamboyance associated with the role or its execution.  But if Jane Hawking herself has approved – and it is her book after all that forms the basis of TTOW – I guess it is a deserving nomination.

What I didn’t like about TTOE was that it was a tad patchy.  There seems to be a lack of fluidity in the narration.  There are visible breaks in the movie and that erodes some of the value.  The pace is also quite slow and it will take some effort from the audience to stay glued to the screen.

Overall, a must watch because it is the story of Stephen Hawking and because it has the courage to say the story like the way it happened ( It releases today in India amongst 3 other great movies.  Do find time for this. 8 on 10.

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