The Theory of Everything

While gradually becoming a prisoner in his own body due to Lou Gehrig’s disease, young astrophysicist Stephen Hawking found true love and theorized a black hole at the beginning of time. Ah, time — that precious stuff he seemed to be running out of, just as he was onto something. And by something we mean everything. Hawking’s formula for longevity: gumption, a good heart, and a rather profound infinity-awareness. This is verifiable via his books, but of course the enclosures of scientific rigor are less entertaining than staged (and screened) triumphs of the spirit, or the mind. In director James Marsh’s gauzy and chastely reverential movie, an obvious awards-season showpiece, Eddie Redmayne relishes the physically challenging role of Hawking, carefully bending himself through a progression of wheelchairs from Cambridge in the ’60s toward the gnarled, impish, computer-voiced transglobal keynoter we all know and love today. Felicity Jones is equally well cast as his dutiful but only human wife, Jane, whose memoir Anthony McCarten’s script adapts. There’s a so-what factor here, which is disappointing given all the work Redmayne put in, and the movie’s proclamation of scope, but maybe that’s just what you get when it all starts with a black hole.