The Theory Of Everything - Blu-ray Review

'It's unlikely you'll find anything in Marsh's film to appreciate nearly as much as the performance from his leading man'.

As if playing arguably the cleverest living human being wasn't enough, Eddie Redmayne's Best Actor Oscar win earlier this year for his portrayal of Professor Stephen Hawking has surely cemented the young actor's place in cinema history. Whilst his success may have come at the expense of acclaimed performances from more established names such as Hollywood veteran Michael Keaton and fellow Brit Benedict Cumberbatch, after watching The Theory Of Everything it's very hard to argue that Redmayne's Academy Award was not heartily deserved.

Like any other screen depiction of a contemporary or recent historical figure, Redmayne's portrayal requires some degree of impersonation, but this is thankfully only the foundation of his comprehensively laudable work. In his early thirties at the time of shooting, the actor credibly transforms himself through nearly three decades of Hawking's life, from the brilliant twenty-something PhD student we meet in the opening act to the world-renowned university professor physically disabled by motor neuron disease at the film's close. As well as subtly and expertly showing the gradual deterioration of the scientist's physical capabilities, Redmayne captures the intelligence and humour of Hawking superbly; it's a performance which manages to get better and better as The Theory Of Everything progresses.

Redmayne's acting achievements make it all the more frustrating that the rest of The Theory Of Everything is more often than not an overwhelmingly safe and unremarkable affair. James Marsh's direction is workmanlike, too often allowing significant moments in Hawking's life to play out in a languid and unexceptional fashion. Key events feel hurriedly brushed over: we see Hawking finally strike upon the subject for his thesis, only to witness him collecting his doctorate just a few scenes later. It's decisions like this that make Marsh's biopic a far less satisfying cinematic experience than such a fascinating and significant life as Hawking's could undoubtedly generate.

The supporting cast surrounding Redmayne largely offer similarly ordinary fare. Felicity Jones as Hawking's girlfriend and then wife Jane is at times fine, but struggles whenever the story requires her to put across any strong emotion. Charlie Cox is Colin Firth to the power of Hugh Grant as Jonathan, the stiff-upper-lipped English gent who befriends the Hawking family. Even the usually reliable David Thewlis as Hawking's doctoral advisor Dennis Sciama feels like a more subdued, less interesting version of his role as Professor Lupin from the Harry Potter franchise.

The Theory Of Everything is certainly never a bad film, but regrettably it is rarely ever more than a perfunctory one. Redmayne's portrayal of Hawking undeniably makes this worthy of your attention, but it's unlikely you'll find anything in Marsh's film to appreciate nearly as much as the performance from his leading man.

The Theory Of Everything is available now on UK digital download, and is released on UK Blu-ray and DVD on Monday 11th May 2015.

By Ben Broadribb. Ben is a regular contributor to Film Intel, having previously written at Some Like It Hot Fuzz. He is normally seen in the wild wearing t-shirts containing obscure film references. He is a geek, often unashamedly so. He's also on and Twitter.

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