Ask anyone to name 5 famous scientists and chances are one of them will be Stephen Hawking. He is along the few scientists to become major pop culture figures along with Albert Einstein, Marie Curie and Neil Degrass Tyson. Within the physics world, he is renowned for his theory of black holes and time. In the literary world, he brought an understanding of physics to mainstream readers through his bestselling book “The Brief History of Time.” Some people of my generation (or maybe just me) know him from his guest appearance on the Simpsons and Futurama. But people most recognized is the image of the man leaning in his electric wheelchair, talking through the electric speaker. It may be because they see a man who achieved incredible success despite having been afflicted with ALS. The one who was right by him through his diagnosis and early works was Jane Hawking, who wrote about her life with Stephen in the memoir traveling to Infinity. That book was the inspiration for The Theory of Everything, a biopic about Stephen’s early theories, his early diagnosis and the love that helped him cope with it.
It’s 1963 and when we first meet Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne), he is a charmingly awkward Oxford student studying theoretical physics. He is also a procrastinator and tends to sleep until noon.It is at Oxford that he meets Jane (Felicity Jones), an arts student studying romance languages and literature. The moment they lock eyes at each other, it’s love at first sight. They start out with a bunch of awkward conversation before they have the classic kiss on a bridge.
Despite his slacker habit, he is able to answer ten “impossible” questions given by his Professor Sciama (David Thewlis). When trying to come up with a thesis, he attends a seminar about the black holes. He begins work on a thesis about the possibility of a black hole at the beginning of the universe.
But then he starts having trouble with his hands and feet. He has trouble holding chalk. And then he trips over his own feet and slams his head on concrete. The doctor diagnoses a motor neuron disease and is expected to only live for two years. This sends him into a state of severe depression, spending his days lying on the ground in despair. Jane is the one who gives him the will to keep going on with his research. Their love comes in full circle and they get married. She stays with him when he goes from crutches to the wheelchair and surpasses the two year life expectancy.
The film has many strengths going for it. First of all, Redmayne and Jones share subtle and charming chemistry together. Redmayne not only bears an uncanny resemblance to Hawking, but always reminds the audience of the man and his genius even when he’s barely moving in a wheelchair. He even crack jokes at his own expense, once referring to cosmologists as “the religion for intellectual atheists.” Without words, he is able to convey the gears moving inside his head. Jones presents Jane as a supportive, intelligent woman while still being a mild-mannered lady. She also reminds us she is also a woman working through her education and how hard it can be for her.
Director James Marsh gives us some pretty beautiful scenes throughout. We get the feeling of an idea going through Stephens head as he gazes at a fireplace. It results in a beautiful image of the flame surrounding his corneas, making his pupil look like a black hole. The best scene has to be the most subtle. It’s a silent dinner scene between Stephen and Jane where Jane presents a wheelchair for him to use. He is at first hesitant, but he slowly swallows his pride and tries it out. He cuts the silence with the line “You know this is only temporary.”
As a romance, it is warm and charming portrayal of love holding out against difficult odds. As a biography, it is a celebration of intelligence and the endurance of a great man. It is probably the most mature romantic movie of last year. Rarely do I see a romance with adults acting like adults. Even when Stephen and Jane fall out of love, It’s portrayed in a low key and mature way. And they still remain friends to the end. I highly recommend this movie for those who love romance and those who love biopics.
 And right these are the only two traits I’ll ever have in common with Hawking.
 Now known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease