Good in theory

The Theory of Everything

Rated 3.0

At its best, this semi-saccharine biopic about theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking doles out some nicely understated combinations of misty-eyed romance and tough-minded drama. Eddie Redmayne gives a winning performance in the main role, but never really gets to push beyond the script’s studiously genteel comfort zone.

The film is based on Jane Hawking’s book, Traveling to Infinity: My Life With Stephen, but even with Felicity Jones delivering a sweetly intelligent performance in the role, the overall characterization of Hawking’s first wife too often seems merely thin and decorative. The supporting cast (Emily Watson, David Thewlis, Simon McBurney, etc.) is very good, with Charlie Cox and Maxine Peake being especially effective as caregivers with extraordinary attachments to Stephen and Jane.