The Theory of Everything is a fantastic, touching motion picture featuring one of the most transformative acting performances I've ever seen, in the form of star Eddie Redmayne as cosmologist Stephen Hawking.
The film is based on the book "Traveling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen", written by Jane Hawking, a tale that focuses not just on Stephen's plight, but on the plights of both he and Jane as they cope with his physically debilitating (but mentally sustained) downfall with Lou Gehrig's disease. What at once feels like a standard biopic about Stephen Hawking smoothly becomes a tale of two people, with a lot of the focus going to Jane as she copes with life as the caregiver to the man who was once told in his twenties that he only had two years to live (and yet continues to live to this day at the age of 72 as of this writing).
The overall story of the film is to be experienced, but the real review I give here is based on my feelings toward the film as it played out before me. As noted before, I expected this to be a rather standard biopic on the life of Hawking, but instead was pleasantly surprised to find a tremendously well-acted film, with a beautiful, transcendental musical score from Johann Johannsson to drive both Redmayne's and Felicity Jones' performances to the next level of emotional captivation, with fine editing and cinematography to allow the film to flow without rushing and to look good while doing it. Director James Marsh is more concerned with the relationship between his two leads than he is with the events building up to the publication of Stephen's book, "A Brief History of Time", and for that he greatly succeeds in telling an engrossing story without simply going by the typical "life of" motions of other true-life stories. The performances alone are what make this movie worth watching. On that alone I could end the review.
Of the great films of 2014, The Theory of Everything stands out as one of the finest even if only for Eddie Redmayne's superb acting. The movie does hit a couple depressing notes toward the end that I did see coming once a particular character is introduced, but had hoped it wouldn't progress in that direction (having no previous knowledge of the life of Hawking, I was easily duped by certain marital transgressions that befell the two leads). Regardless of my hope, the film still manages to tie itself together at the end with a simple narrative line that follows both the man AND the mind, and shows us that sometimes the greatest stars in the universe are in the eyes of those we love right here with us on earth.