The Theory of Everything is a maudlin and interminable motion picture about the acting talents of Eddie Redmayne. Over the course of two hours, Eddie Redmayne portrays Stephen Hawking, one of the most brilliant physicists to ever grace the Earth, and whose illness is capitalised upon by Eddie Redmayne in an attempt to win an Oscar. Throughout the film, very little is allowed to distract the viewer’s attention from the acting talents of Eddie Redmayne, because then Eddie Redmayne would have been less likely to win an Oscar. Make no mistake, this film was not made to tell the story of a great mind, one that directly shaped the majority of what we know about the universe today; it was made for Eddie Redmayne to show exactly how great he is, accomplished in part through the completely predictable and boring technique of playing a disabled person in a film released at the very height of awards season. To win an Oscar.
Eddie Redmayne: The Movie rarely lets up on the topic of Hawking’s disability, which is a shame because the film’s best moments come from the rare flourishes of chemistry between him and his wife, and in the scenes that deal with Hawking’s scientific breakthroughs; after these mercilessly brief interruptions, it reverts to laying the groundwork for Eddie Redmayne to win a guess what. As such, the whole thing callously neglects to emphasise just how great Hawking’s successes are in the face of his ALS, instead preferring to dwell upon the ways in which his illness impacts his relationship with his wife – because that’s Oscar-winning cinema.
The Theory of Everything You Have to Do to Win an Oscar These Days remains affable until you remember that what you’re viewing is a softly-lit slab of Academy-bait. Oscar Redmayne’s transformation into the role of Hawking is impressive to look at, but it’s difficult to form an emotional attachment to something this overwrought. There is a line that should not be crossed when it comes to being reverent, and it should have taken a leaf from the books of Dallas Buyers Club and Silver Linings Playbook, which are fairly recent examples of decent tonal balances with regards to depictions of illness, especially in how to prevent your movie from becoming completely soulless.
True, both of those films also shot for Oscar glory, but neither of them were this blatant about it; they were occasionally exciting pictures, whereas this one does nothing interesting with the source material whatsoever. Nowhere in this movie is there any real insight into the illustrious life of Stephen Hawking, nor his illness, excluding details that are already available on his Wikipedia page. All it does is continuously reiterate that Hawking is disabled, and that Eddie Redmayne is a very talented at portraying a disabled person, even though he probably only did it to try to win an Oscar. Hawking’s story is one of unimaginable success against crippling adversity; The Theory of Everything fudges that by completely prioritising its own self-interests.