Eddie Redmayne becomes Stephen Hawking in a rare and exciting way in The Theory of Everything, giving a performance that extends far beyond simply mimicking Hawking’s look. He’s a young actor — currently 33 — but already has a sizable body of film work under his belt, in addition to a Tony Award and an Olivier Award for his work in the play Red alongside Alfred Molina. In short: it’s a good time to be Eddie Redmayne. His success in this role will doubtless launch him onto the international stage, and judging by his next role (a part in Jupiter Ascending, his first big-budget action film) he’s already there.
And yet it’s all he and co-star Felicity Jones can do to drag The Theory of Everything out of the tired, trodden mud in which the film itself is set. To claim outright that a certain biographical film is “boring” isn’t necessarily the equivalent of deeming the life of the subject to be similarly boring, but it’s close enough to warrant a perfunctory disclaimer: Hawking had a life that was anything but boring. Sure, everyone knows that math and science themselves are really incredibly boring — certainly no one is denying that. But Theory can’t even fall back on that, because there’s surprisingly little math or science in the film.