Stephen Hawking (played by Eddie Redmayne) is a maths genius. He’s studying at Oxford University in England where he totally eclipses his class but frustrates his tutor. He’s fascinated by cosmology and gets into a research doctorate at Cambridge – his absolute dream. He meets unique and very smart Jane Wilde, a beautiful young arts student who totally captivates him. They begin a relationship and everything goes well until Stephen suddenly takes ill and is diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease – a degenerative neurological condition that will gradually render his body totally lifeless, even though his brain continues to function normally. At only 21, he’s given just two years to live and Jane vows to support him through the challenges that lie ahead. They bravely marry and set up a home. Somehow Stephen defies all medical theory and lives far longer than anyone expected, including having a family and a relatively stable home life. But he needs focussed care as his body gradually degenerates. Seemingly regardless of his physical state, he continues with his academic work and becomes the most eminent physicist of our time.
This is a marvellous movie. Not only is the depiction of the physical challenges faced by Stephen Hawking depicted with excellence, the complexity of the relationships is fascinating and compelling. As Hawking, Eddie Redmayne is wonderful. He inhabits Stephen Hawking as both an able-bodied young man and a physically challenged older man. He is totally believable and marvellous. The relationships in the movie are very well presented and are enthralling. The movie explores the many facets of love beautifully and I’m sure many in the audience will be left considering how they’d behave in such a situation. Jane’s life is remarkable and their marriage is one to be celebrated. As Jane, Felicity Jones (looking uncannily like Scarlett Johansson in some scenes) is lovely. The way she interacts with Stephen is beautifully portrayed as is her relationship with Stephen’s parents, Frank (by Simon McBurney) and Mary (by Lucy Chappell). I was delighted to see Emma Watson here as Jane’s mother Beryl and also Maxine Peake – I’m a great fan of hers. But there’s something creepy about her character, Elaine Mason, that doesn’t quite work for me. However, overall this is a marvellous piece and totally deserves the accolades it gets. In the 2015 award season, Eddie Redmayne has received a Golden Globe, BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actor (with a nomination for an Academy Award – Oscar – also). Felicity Jones received a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actress and nominated for a Golden Globe and a BAFTA. She is nominated for an Academy Award (Oscar) also. The Original Score gets several accolades, as does the entire movie itself. It’s a good movie, well done James Marsh.
Made in 2014. Directed by James Marsh