You’ll be sadly disappointed if you see this movie expecting to learn more about Stephen Hawking’s cosmic insights. But if you want to see a beautifully filmed love story (and tragedy), you will be get more than your money’s worth.
The film really focuses on Jane, Hawking’s first wife. They meet at the University of Cambridge and they marry after his diagnosis of ALS. Jane cares for him and their three children without outside help and the burden eventually takes its toll. She meets Jonathan, the church choir master, and the two begin a chaste affair. It’s not until Stephen chooses to end their marriage that she and Jonathan consummate the relationship and ultimately marry. My guess is that life in the Hawking’s house was not as rosy as depicted in this film. But thanks to the wonders of the movies, we get to spend the afternoon being uplifted rather than depressed.
Eddie Redmaynes’s performance in the physically demanding role as Hawking is a marvel to watch. It is certainly worthy of an Academy Award nomination. But don’t overlook Felicity Jones’ subtle depiction of Jane. She doesn’t come off as a martyr but as a woman torn between doing what she believes is right and the pursuit of her own goals and happiness. Her performance is nuanced and spot-on. She too is deserves recognition by the Academy. LAR
Running time: 123 minutes