So many of the movies that you can see in the theater right now are about the work we do and how easily it can possess us and drive away those who we love. “Birdman” and “Interstellar“, just to name a few, focus on people who have extraordinary talents but must sacrifice time and energy toward those passions and away from family and friends.
“The Theory of Everything” is no exception — but for different reasons. The true story of Stephen Hawking and his battle with motor neurone disease is superbly acted in this film by Eddie Redmayne, in a role that may well earn him the Oscar for Best Actor; if so, it would be well-deserved. Hawking’s first wife is performed by Felicity Jones, who plays a powerful and understated role in the movie. As Hawking’s condition worsens, so does their relationship — the challenges of taking care of him and a family become overwhelming and daunting for his wife. He also pours his life into his work, and with his brilliance and wit, he becomes a celebrity in his own right — taking more attention away from his wife, who is almost singlehandedly holding the family together.
It’s a moral dilemma, because Stephen Hawking isn’t known as a brilliant husband and father — he’s known as being a brilliant scientist, perhaps the greatest of which we may know in this lifetime. But can he be all of those things? If not, what’s the cost of that on loved ones? The movie is able to address all of these issues, in a way that’s very relatable.
In the search for a “theory of everything”, a simple, efficient, mathematical formula for everything that “is”, it’s important to remember where we find that inspiration and those who help us discover it. Hopefully this movie helps you do just that.