Is there anything in this “Theory” that can explain why some two hour movies feel like they go by in 90 minutes and others feel like they last forever?
“The Theory of Everything” is a biographical look at the life of famed physicist Steven Hawking as centered around his relationship with fellow Cambridge student Jane Wilde from their meeting through their marriage. It takes a look not only at the romance but the ideas that made him famous and the disease that left him mostly immobile for much of his life. To say that covering a man whose life was almost as complex as the ideas he thought of would be an understatement, but this movie does a pretty good job.
Most of which is due to Eddie Redmayne who takes on the daunting task of not only spouting the theoretical complexities of the universe but also the decline of Hawkings health through all of it’s stages. He manages to convey both with a legitimacy that is engaging and beautiful. Helping us understand the joy behind this man of ideas in a way that gives flesh and depth to the person many only know as that genius who uses a computer as his voice. And that’s the real strength of the movie, the breadth and understanding of a man who could be easily relegated to his theories instead of understanding the human story underneath. It’s a unique life and the movie serves it well by not allowing the astrophysics to distract from the fact that this is a love story at its core. A story more about the terrestrial bodies circling each other than the celestial ones. And because of that focus there’s a real beauty here in seeing more about this man’s life.
But I have to be honest here, it’s also kinda boring. I know, I know, it really is beautiful, and the acting is great, and all that stuff I already said, but I just found myself throughout the 2 hours in these moments of nothing. I’m not sure if it was an intentional pacing decision to try and give more weight to the moments or if it was an unintentional consequence of the breadth of the story, but whatever it was I just felt like the story dragged occasionally that made the overall experience a bit of a slog. In a way it’s kinda like a good friend’s wedding, it’s beautiful, emotional, and you’re glad it’s happening and you get to be there, but your suit is getting a little stuffy and you wish it would just end so you can get back into your comfy clothes.
Overall, The Theory of Everything is a beautiful look at a man whose life and ideas were worth exploring more in depth. An incredible performance by Eddie Redmayne and a beautiful love story are enough to make the film a worthwhile watch, but the pacing occasionally brings the movie to a stand still enough times that its hard for me to theorize anything more than a B