It follows the memoir of Jane Hawking (which I’m now inclined to read), depicting their relationship and Hawking’s succession in the field of science. As much as this is about Hawking’s personal and professional, I think that this is also much about Jane and her struggles. Both characters were given a chance to revere in their success as well as their challenges personally and as a couple. The film was written well, and the parts perfectly cast.
I’ve only seen Eddie Redmayne in a handful of films, but I was very impressed with his portrayal as Stephen Hawking. I think portraying real life people with disabilities onscreen can be challenging as an actor and as a person because you’d want to give justice to the person you are portraying, and at the same time you don’t want to come off as a caricature of the person. I’ve only seen Hawking on a few television appearances, and I think Redmayne nailed his performance. He owned the character from start to end.
They were supported by David Thewlis and Harry Lloyd, as well as Charlie Cox and Maxine Peake. I found Peake to be the weakest among them, maybe because I wasn’t into her character as much, or she was written to immediately negate Jane as opposed to Jonathan (Cox) who Hawking also supposedly liked.
As I’ve mentioned, it was Felicity Jones who brought the emotional punch into the film, making her character very approachable in terms of real life. Watching her try her best to take care of Hawking and keep her family running, it was reminiscent to what some or most people go through when a family member is sick. I think everyone has a different culture when it comes to this, not to mention the financial capability that has to be provided for needs required. The feeling that you get when you have to believe that everything will be all right even if there is the slightest chance that anything could go wrong, I think Jane was feeling the same way so it wasn’t difficult to sympathize with her character. Jones’ portrayal makes it easier to root for Jane and Hawking to survive their ordeal. Since this is a biopic, I think it can be said that what Jane did was very brave. While films often show people taking on the challenge to take care of someone, that’s not how it works in reality.
The film was not flawless, I think there could have been more content, given the 2 hour run time. I did like the whole science and religion debacle the Hawkings were occasionally going through, and how it was addressed in the end. I thought it was very symbolic on how Hawking and Jane’s relationship turned out to be.
Final Word: Superb work from Redmayne and Jones, hopefully this film opens more doors for them, especially for Jones. I think she has been doing solid work, even if her movies are not as known.
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Tom Prior
Director: James Marsh