Hello everyone! I am posting a new post so soon because I just HAVE to write about this. First though, I just want to say thank you to whoever got me 210 views the other day haha.
On Thursday me and my girly J went to watch ‘The Theory of Everything’; for those of you who don’t know, TTOE is a movie about the genius Stephen Hawking, exploring 25 years or so of his life from his first meeting with his first wife Jane and his diagnosis of Motor Neurone Disease, to his rising fame and divorce with Jane. It was based on Jane’s memoir ‘Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen’, directed by James Marsh and starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones as the lead roles.
Only people living under a rock would’ve never heard of Stephen Hawking; he’s world famous, one of the most intelligent men to be alive and is living an astounding life despite his condition and being estimated just 2 years left to live, it’s impossible to have not heard his name. Although I was fully aware of who he is, I will admit that I did not know much about him as Science is something that I lost interest in and gave up on a long time ago. I’ll be honest with you that despite not knowing anything about him, he actually scared me a bit; I think that there are many people in the world who might be intimidated by him because his appearance caused by his illness is overwhelming. I don’t mean that in a horrible way, I guess I am pretty ignorant and I find people who, how should I put this…aren’t fully themselves in one way or another, frighten me a little because I don’t know how to approach them.
My mother forced my dad to promise that should she ever enter a vegetative state that he was to switch off her machine, and my dad has also forced us to promise him this; I have been surrounded by people with this fear and belief that it is a cruel way for someone to live if they cannot fully be themselves. My dad does not like hearing about Stephen Hawking because of this, I think it upsets him and therefore he is pretty ignorant on such topics too; naturally I am brought up with these fears but I am also smarter and more understanding, I think that if the doctor told me that it would be best to turn my father’s machine off that I would refuse and fight for him just like Jane did for Stephen.
However if there is one thing I love, it’s learning; I love to have my curiosity peaked and satisfied, and to learn something new; thankfully there aren’t many things in the world that really don’t interest me. When I saw the trailer for TTOE back when I watched the final part of The Hobbit, I knew that it was a movie that I wanted to watch; luckily J also wanted to see it and that’s exactly what we did.
Right from the start the film is emotional and beautiful, it really is one of those films that hits you hard in the chest and takes your breath away. These days we are lucky to have such a film grace our screens, one where you would happily pay again to go and watch it; it was so well done and the acting was absolutely amazing that you forgot you were watching actors.
Eddie Redmayne played the role of Stephen exceptionally well; he did months of research, reading and watching his interviews to ensure that he captured Hawking as best as he could. Portraying someone else, especially someone who’s still alive, is incredibly difficult; so to have Redmayne not only do that but to also explore such a complex disease and pull it off requires some fantastic acting skills – thankfully that is just what Redmayne has otherwise it could’ve been a disaster. Redmayne met up with specialists and patients suffering with Motor Neurone Disease so that he could learn about the disease and how the deterioration affects the body; he stated that he had to ‘train his body like a dancer’ because “when Stephen was at his stillest, it was most energy-consuming”. As an able-bodied man, Redmayne had to learn to disable himself and train his body to shorten his muscles rather than stretch them; I was amazed with the amount of effort he made to integrate the little symptoms of MND and Hawking’s mannerisms into his acting, such as the shaking of the hand, the stumbling feet or the drop of his gaze as well as Hawking’s cheeky smile and expressive eyebrows, to the point that it looked so natural to him.
Redmayne commented in an interview that “At the end of the day, I could get up. I was constantly reminded of how lucky I am.” He was very nervous about meeting Stephen Hawking in real life as he wanted his approval quickly; he stated that he suffers with ‘verbal diarrhoea’ and basically “vomited forth information about him to him.” After Stephen saw the film he gave them the copyright to use his voice, so that in the final version, we hear the voice that Stephen himself uses; to Redmayne, this was the approval he was after.
Felicity Jones played the role of Stephen Hawking’s first love and first wife, Jane Wilde; many might think that her role was no where near as difficult as Redmayne’s, perhaps not physically but she did have to try and understand the immense emotional strain that Jane had to endure during their marriage. Like Redmayne, she researched and studied Jane from books and video clips before meeting her in person, and during their time together she observed Jane’s mannerisms so that she could really become her. She was pleased to hear from Jane that she had managed to capture such mannerisms and even her voice which Jones said she was obsessed with; we can safely say that this is clear approval from Jane herself.
The story had me moved throughout the entire film and there were many parts that I could’ve cried at; I think had I been in the comfort of my own home with a box of tissues then I would’ve cried to my heart’s content. I do cry at films, I do feel the emotion but when I am watching with other people or in a public place, I will attempt to keep myself together haha. There were many parts, the hardest being the realisation between Stephen and Jane that their marriage was no longer working, where I wanted to sob; instead I allowed one tear to escape and that was only because I looked at J who was full-blown wet face next to me. I pat myself on the back for holding it together during that film because it was bledy hard, and anyone who does not get stirred by it in some way can possibly consider themselves heartless lol; I’m an easy crier but I think I have managed to master not crying in front of others. Someone nearby was blowing their nose and J had cried at least 4 times by the end of the movie; consider the emotional content, amazing acting and brilliant sound score, it’s enough to turn anyone into a blubbering mess (seriously guys I was trying really, really hard).
It really was an inspiring and courageous story on both parts; I’m actually interested in picking up both Jane and Stephen Hawking’s books now to give them a read. I thoroughly enjoy films that move me enough that I want to learn more afterwards, even though they are for entertainment purposes I still think it is great when positive messages are sewn into a story; it makes me sounds lazy but I think films are a great way of teaching people through an entertaining experience, especially for people like me who aren’t exactly academic, without this film then I probably would’ve never touched on his life.
If you haven’t seen it then I urge you to as this will definitely be in my DVD collection when it comes out (and then I can blubber to my hearts content at home); and if you didn’t think that Eddie Redmayne was hot then you will now, J was so busy fawning over him at the beginning I’m not sure if she paid enough attention to the storyline lol. I personally think that they couldn’t have got a better actor to play the part, just look at these photos next to each other of young Stephen Hawking and Eddie Redmayne as Stephen, he really fits the part!!
I definitely feel that this is worth that Oscar and if he doesn’t get it then I know there will be a massive outrage! I feel like I have learnt so much and I also feel that I am more aware of the disease; I feel more understanding towards disabilities and less fearful with regards to them than I was before. This film really has helped to open up my eyes and stomp out some of my ignorance; for as Stephen says “as long as there is life, there is hope” and if I ever hear someone say that they would not like to be like Stephen Hawking, I would say “who wouldn’t want to be like Stephen Hawking, he’s amazing!”