Sometimes you don’t really fancy a film, but go and see it anyway and then regret it. This weeks Robert Burns Centre Film Theatre Film Club screening was one of these films. But thankfully I did not regret it, in fact it turned out a lot better than I had expected!
Superbly introduced by Rachel Findlay The Theory of Everything (2014) played to a packed house and was very well received by an attentive audience. Rachel gave us a few pointers and some background to the making of this rather unusual love story, although we all knew the story of Stephan Hawking and how he suffers from a rare early-onset slow-progressing form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis better known as motor neurone disease that has gradually paralysed him over the decades since he was given 2 to 3 years to live in 1963 when it was first diagnosed and, as we are all aware from his recent appearance at the BAFTA’s where the movie won three awards he is currently in his seventies.
This rather moving and emotional film deals with his life through his first wife Jane Wilde (played in what should have been a award winning role by Felicity Jones) who he was married to for thirty years and who gave him three children. The period takes us from the time they first met at Cambridge in 1963 until basically their divorce and his subsequent marriage to Elaine Mason (Maxine Peake). Its based on Jane’s revised memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephan Hawking. Strangely despite Hawking debilitating disease Eddie Redmayne’s award winning success never lets this character get angry and you also suspect from his remarkable portrayal that Hawking never quite realised the affect that it was having on his nearest and dearest.
Director James March, who you may now from Man on Wire (2008) a documentary film that chronicled French man Philippe Petit’s high wire walk between the Twin Towers of New Yorks Worlds Trade Centre in 1974 or the IRA drama Shadow Dancer in 2011, has made a genuine attempt to show the realities that faced Jane during her thirty year marriage to someone that was unable to do anything for himself for most of the time and the strain of this becomes gradually etched on the face of the actress. Rachel informed us that Redmayne took six months to prepare for the role and the choreographer Alex Reynolds was employed to help develop his uncanny performance. It was made difficult because the star was expected to do as many as three different timespans in just one days shooting.
This is a good-looking film with an obvious attention to detail with Eddie Redmayne actually meeting Hawking midway through the filming who agreed to the use of the actual voice simulator that he used. As I said at the beginning of this ramble sometimes you have got to take a leap of faith and see a movie that your not sure of, sometimes your lucky as in this case, and sometimes your not.