The Theory of Everything

A brainy bio on Stephen Hawking

It was only a matter of time before a film was made about this remarkable man. Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with ALS 50 years ago and given two years to live. You can confidently say he has beaten the odds—and in the process, he turned the world of science on its head with his groundbreaking concepts of the Big Bang, black holes, and boundaries of the universe.

But like its cinematic cousin, The Imitation Game, the film doesn’t try to explain the science. For that, read Hawking’s most excellent A Brief History of Time. Instead it concentrates on the formidable personal challenges faced by the physicist and his first wife Jane (upon whose memoir the film is based).

Of course the film belongs to Eddie Redmayne, who took home an Oscar for his painstakingly detailed portrayal, without unnecessary exaggeration, of a brilliant man gradually losing control of his body’s muscles. But its emotional center is Felicity Jones as Jane, who matches Redmayne scene for scene with an equally powerful but far subtler performance.

This brainy bio is inspirational, literate, schmaltz-free, and quite moving, bringing this hardened reviewer close to tears more than once. Japanese title: Hakase to Kanojo no Theory. (123 min)