i Editor's Letter: The life-affirming triumph of a couple’s love


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The Independent Online

A film recommendation for you this morning. The Theory of  Everything, based on the memoirs of Stephen Hawking’s ex-wife, Jane, is quick, affecting, gloriously  scored and inventively shot. It is not a perfect film, clinging to the rigid biopic format, telling us  little we didn’t already know about the cosmologist, and will be a bit light on the science for pointy-headed types.

Yet all of that misses the  point. In The Theory of Everything,  Hawking is one half of a couple. This is a marital drama, where Stephen (Eddie Redmayne) and Jane (Felicity Jones) collide and fuse within three minutes of the opening credits. On Thursday, Professor Hawking will celebrate his 73rd birthday – outliving his life expectancy by 50 years, in no small part because of Jane. This is their story.

In his astonishing portrayal of Hawking, Redmayne contorts himself from student eccentric to the twisted, driven, funny,  brilliant physicist whose body abandons him – the man recognised by the public. If Redmayne doesn’t win the Oscar for Best Actor, whoever does ought to hand him the prize. Jones as Jane has grace and steel, refusing to play the martyr.

Real life may have been much trickier, both battling their own inner torment, but these two bring tenderness to a  complicated marriage.

The film is a life-affirming  triumph of a couple’s love, and of the human spirit, in the face of catastrophe. You don’t need to have been the Lucasian  Professor of Mathematics to  calculate the value of that.


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