The Theory of Everything Blu-ray Review
If you mention the name Stephen Hawking to three different people and ask who he is you will probably get three different answers. One will tell you he is Sheldon’s “Words with Friends” associate on “The Big Bang Theory.” Another will tell you he’s the guy in the wheelchair with the robotic voice. And the most learned will tell you that he’s the author of the book “A Brief History of Time” and one of the greatest scientific minds EVER. But I’d wager that none of this trio of people know the true story of Stephen Hawking, one that is put forward in the film THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING.
When we meet young Stephen Hawking (Redmayne in a well-deserved Academy Award winning performance) he is enrolled at Oxford University, doing well but feeling weak. At age 21 he is diagnosed with the early symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), better known to the layman as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He is given two years to live. But Hawking has much planned to do in his life and that two year sentence is not acceptable. Hawking had recently begun seeing Jane Wilde (Jones, also Oscar nominated), a fellow student who, like her beau, can only look on the hand dealt them with a positive outlook. The two are soon married and try their best to live their lives as normally as they can. A life best taken one day at a time, with the days turning to months turning to years. That both of them are still with us 50 years later is a testament to the strong will and faith instilled in each other.
I can’t remember the last time I saw a film (I caught an early screening of THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING in October of last year) and writing in my notebook when it was over, “Best Actor.” Like Daniel Day-Lewis in MY LEFT FOOT, Eddie Redmayne’s performance extends far beyond his words or deeds. Every muscle in his body is used to give a performance that is not only heartbreaking but genuine and believable. Jones is his acting equal here, as a wife who insists on treating her husband as if there is nothing physically wrong with him. Theirs is a relationship built on love and, when things begin to go sour, on trust. When a new piano tutor (Charlie Cox) is brought into the home, he soon becomes a close friend of the family. It is obvious that he and Jane have an attraction but they never act on it. Eventually the Hawking’s split up, but infidelity was never a question. The film follows Hawking’s achievements as well as his personal life, ending with him accepting an award in America. For those readers who enjoy a bit of trivia with their reviews, it is Hawking’s own synthesized voice we hear during his on screen counterpart’s acceptance speech. In what was a season of truly inspirational films (UNBROKEN, THE IMITATION GAME), THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING was certainly one of the best.
Video: Presented in a 2:40.1 aspect ratio, the transfer here is beautiful, highlighting the beauty of the period.
Audio: Available in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, the audio is clear and sharp. The beautiful musical score by Johann Johannsson is a fine, but not overbearing, accompaniment to the dialogue.
Audio Commentary: A very informative commentary by the film’s director, James Marsh.
Deleted Scenes: (10:45): Eight scenes, most of them under a minute in length, not used in the final film, none of which were really missed. The scenes can be watched with an optional commentary by the film’s director.
Becoming the Hawkings (7:03): A short featurette showing how Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones prepared to play Stephen and Jane Hawking.
Previews (a collection of coming attractions for some of 2013’s better films)