A whiff of “Man on Wire” director James Marsh's “The Theory of Everything” should convince you the Stephen Hawking biopic is a Best Picture contender (and we would agree with you). Shades of “A Beautiful Mind,” Eddie Redmayne's all-in performance as the paralysed Professor Hawking, a breakout role for critical darling Felicity Jones, and praise from the festival circuit all add up to Oscar. Some things aren't physics.
“The Theory of Everything” picks up in 1964, Hawking popping his head up from a Cambridge University doctoral program just long enough to fall head over heels in love with his sister's friend, Jane Wilde (Jones). During this propulsive time, with romance and Big Bang theories swirling about, doctors diagnosed the budding astrophysicist with motor neuron disease. All reports indicated he'd be dead in two years. “The Theory of Everything” tracks the many fruitful, turbulent, inspiring decades he went on to live.
Our own Gregory Ellwood was a big fan of “Theory of Everything” when it premiered at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival, praising Redmayne, Jones, and Marsh's delicate direction. The new trailer paints a clear picture of how Redmayne gives himself over to the performance, altering his physical presence to take caricature into true transformation. Less obvious is Jones's tremendous work, Jane being an able-bodied companion who battles her own crippling psyche. “The Theory of Everything” is less about the science than the maturation and dissolution of a relationship. There's a lot of sweetness in this new spot, but there's a lot of hardships uncovered in the finished film.
“The Theory of Everything” hits theaters Nov. 7, 2014.