What a gorgeous film directed by Brit James Marsh! The Theory of Everything should win everything as awards season gets underway. The world's leading theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking even provided his Equalizer computerized voice for the film, based on his first wife's memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen by Jane Wilde Hawking.
"From his wheelchair, he has led us on a journey to the farthest and strangest reaches of the cosmos. In so doing, he has stirred our imagination and showed us the power of the human spirit," said President Obama of Hawking upon presenting him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009, our nation's highest civilian honor.
Not since Erich Segal's novel Love Story made into a movie set in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has there been such a beautiful, touching on-screen love story, although this one is nonfiction and set in the other Cambridge in England, starting out as students at Cambridge University, the second oldest English-speaking university.
While Love Story's Jennifer Cavilleri, played by Ali McGraw opposite Ryan O'Neal, is dying rather quickly from an unknown malady in her 20's, Stephen Hawking is living 50 years and counting with Lou Gehrig's disease, something close to my heart since my own dear sainted mother had it, too. From Chicago to Cleveland, our family went through what his family goes through every day. The physicality of it all, portrayed masterfully by actor Eddie Redmayne, whose acting style brings to mind actors Daniel Day-Lewis and Warren Beatty, in different ways.
A tribute to his tremendous acting skills and an indomitable hair and makeup crew, Eddie Redmayne is Stephen Hawking. He embodies the scientist. What a departure from Redmayne's prior work in the Oscar-nominated movie musical Les Miserables with Hugh Jackman. But maybe not such a departure from Les Miz's "Let Us Hear the People Sing" about overcoming. For The Theory of Everything unmasks myths and opens eyes in ways never thought possible.
The Theory of Everything in the end is about everything. About the cosmos. About the existence of God. What can be scientifically proven and what can not. Disabilities, which we all have in a myriad of different ways, and what we do with them. It's a love story. Several love stories, actually. And when you see it, you will fall in love this Christmas.
How can you not?
Lonna Saunders may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org