The Theory of Everything reviews

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Re: The Theory of Everything reviews

Postby Uri » Mon Jan 05, 2015 3:06 pm

ITALIANO wrote:Years ago the movie Hilary and Jackie also dealt with a (music, in that case) prodigy whose life was devastated by a terrible, disabling sickness. It WAS about the sickness, but it was also about real people and family dynamics. I found that approach quite intelligent, even edgy at times, though back then some complained that it was still too "soft". What would they say about The Theory of Everything then?


I must say I found Emily Watson’s presence in TToE, having nothing to do in her bit role, to be rather sad. One might think it was homage to an earlier film of hers - not Hilary and Jackie but Breaking the Waves – but having the actress who played the ultimate wife-who’ll-scarify-everything-for-the-sake-of-her-invalid-husband-(including-whoring-around) playing the mother of Jane Hawking is a way too bold and ironic statement for this wishy-washy film to make I’m afraid.

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Re: The Theory of Everything reviews

Postby Uri » Mon Jan 05, 2015 2:17 pm

flipp525 wrote:The only performance that sparked any interest at all for me was the actress who played Elaine, who would eventually become Hawkings' second wife. There's something unique and special about her and the camera loves her face.


Maxine Peake. A fine actress – mostly on British tv (Silk, A Room at the Top, in which she played the Simone Signoret’s part) and apparently even more significantly, on stage – this year she received raves for playing Hamlet (yes, she did play the title role, to be or not to be and everything).

And she also benefited from seemingly being the only flash and blood, sensual grownup in this John Hughesish Life of a Great Man for kids.

flipp525 wrote:The moment when Jane announces that she's pregnant for the third time, I truly had no idea if she and Jonathan had ever even had sex (turns out they hadn't and there went any hint of a conflict).


Or so they say. Is it only dirty old me – in a way, this all enterprise (first the Jane’s book, now this film), almost seems to exist for only one true reason – to make sure everyone knows the youngest Hawking is indeed one. A Hawking that is.

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Re: The Theory of Everything reviews

Postby flipp525 » Mon Jan 05, 2015 10:47 am

Mister Tee wrote:As close as we get to seriously declared desire in this film is Jane timidly tapping at a tent flap. A severe heart-patient could watch this film and his EKG would never take a single leap.

God, this movie was such a chore. No need to echo what's already been pretty well covered by you guys, but a more unchallenging, derivative, frankly boring movie you will not find this season. I laughed at Mister Tee's tent flap quote because I thought that scene perfectly captured what was wrong with the movie: it was so anesthetized that Hawking's ALS seemed to function as a delicious quirk of his personality rather than the crippling horror it truly must've been. Jane knocking on Charlie Cox's tent was the closest we got to any sort of human "messiness" and it's so muted as to be practically non-existent. The moment when Jane announces that she's pregnant for the third time, I truly had no idea if she and Jonathan had ever even had sex (turns out they hadn't and there went any hint of a conflict).

As stated previously, I don't think this movie deserves any acting nominations. The apparently etched-in-stone nominations for Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones will be two of the most groan-inducing on Oscar nomination morning. The only performance that sparked any interest at all for me was from the actress who played Elaine, who would eventually become Hawkings' second wife. There's something unique and special about her and the camera loves her face. The one element of the film that I think should be cited for awards attention is its score which I liked. But that's literally it. The production design was completely uninspired (is it 1971? 1983? 1988? They all looked the same!)

Not one of the year's best by a long shot. And, you're right, Tee, this did make me grope for the now-subversive Philomena!
Last edited by flipp525 on Mon Jan 05, 2015 10:49 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: The Theory of Everything reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Sun Jan 04, 2015 4:46 am

There's not much else to say about this one, really. Years ago the movie Hilary and Jackie also dealt with a (music, in that case) prodigy whose life was devastated by a terrible, disabling sickness. It WAS about the sickness, but it was also about real people and family dynamics. I found that approach quite intelligent, even edgy at times, though back then some complained that it was still too "soft". What would they say about The Theory of Everything then?

And it's not, by the way,that even here there wouldn't be potentially interesting aspects - especially in the second half of the movie, with the failing of the marriage and the debates about God. But they are treated in the most predictable, light way - and not only the two main characters, but everyone else is so... "saintly", so smiling and serene. It's such a flat movie (and one that, in the much more cynical 70s, would have instantly become the subject of countless, and politically uncorrect, parodies).

I said, about The Imitation Game, that while it IS about a gay person - and that's mentioned often in the film - one doesn't get the "feeling" of homosexuality. In The Theory of Everything one doesn't get the "feeling" of sickness - yes, they show the effects it has on the body, but not the deeper, less obvious psychological effects, both in the disabled person and in those around him. They are all just too adorable,

As for the two leads - at times it seems like when, in acting schools, you see young actors playing "mature" roles - there's something too juvenile about them (which becomes even more evident when their characters get older). At least the boy has the physical task to face - and that's the kind of task that the Academy always honors with a nomination, and often - though maybe not in this case - with a win. But the girl, a Susan Strasberg lookalike that I've never seen before and will probably never see again, is really unimpressive - I wonder how she can get a Best Actress nomination and, say, Marion Cotillard won't, but that's what will probably happen.

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Re: The Theory of Everything reviews

Postby Sabin » Mon Dec 08, 2014 1:04 pm

Don't have much to add. Were this film not about Stephen Hawking but rather just a random brilliant massively disabled person, there would be very little difference. Perhaps the film would be better because those involved would be able to see beforehand that the script was so thin. Or rather, if it was a film about any random brilliant massively disabled person, they wouldn't be restricted by Jane's wishes. During the first act, the film belongs to Stephen, and while I was watching it I thought that perhaps people on this board were being a bit too hard on the film. The minute the film shifts over to Jane, one may as well just read the wikipedia page. It's been quite some time since I've seen a film take place for such a hugely indeterminate period of time. Nobody really ages. In the first act, he goes from a bit clumsy to visibly disabled immediately upon diagnosis (amazingly unsubtle). And we know time is marching onward because they keep having more children, which I can only attribute to the fact that he doesn't have enough motor control to pull out.

If the film is about anything, it would seem at the onset to be the marriage of science and faith, which would (again, it would seem) be the thing that drives the two of them apart. I'm a sucker for this because this past year one of the arguments that drove my parents into separation after thirty+ years of marriage was his atheism and her concrete faith in the afterlife (she's lost many in her family). It's not often you see a woman of faith like Jane not trivialized in a film and I thought that was interesting, but eventually it becomes mere window dressing for the truly polite events between a woman and the brilliant massively disabled person with whom she is married.

I agree with Daniel that Eddie Redmayne bears an uncanny resemblance to Stephen Hawking. If we can just for a moment separate the film and everybody involved with the film from the Oscar race itself, this is just brilliant casting. I never felt like I wasn't watching Stephen Hawking. I can't really see what else Felicity Jones could have done. She's really hampered by the limitations of the script in which her marriage to Stephen is basically a test of goodness by God, and what else is there to say about a film like that?
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Re: The Theory of Everything reviews

Postby dws1982 » Sun Nov 30, 2014 11:37 pm

Saw this today. I don't think Mister Tee's post can be improved upon, and certainly there's nothing I could say to counter it.

Although I will say this: It more or less worked for me. Maybe I'm becoming a soft touch. For the type of thing it is--an Oscar-baiting British biopic, I thought it was decent enough. I'll put it this way: It's not the type of movie I'd necessarily want to see winning lots of year-end awards...but in a world where this type of movie inevitably wins year-end awards, I'm okay with this being one to do so.

I thought Jones and Redmayne were both very solid; She does more with less, and she really anchors it once his disability takes over. In terms of Oscars, I think he's pretty clearly a threat to win. Playing a real, still-living, well-known person; The person is physically disabled; We get to witness the person go from fully-functional totally disabled--big physical transformation; it's the kind of performance where you can see actors watching it wishing they had done it. I'm not one for saying "He WAS Hawkings" or stuff like that, but it was pretty striking at times how much he looked like him. In the scenes later on the film when he's in the wheelchair, I think that resemblance is probably more a credit to some pretty shrewd use of lighting and camera placement than actual acting on Redmayne's part, but I can understand why people are impressed. He won't be my Best Actor choice (at least overall; I haven't seen any of the other actual Oscar contenders yet) for the year, but I think that he would be in the acceptable range of winners.

Nothing ground-breaking or earth-shattering, but if you're in the right mood (as I was, apparently) you'll probably enjoy it. Mister Tee is right that your parents will love it.

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Re: The Theory of Everything reviews

Postby flipp525 » Sun Nov 23, 2014 11:39 am

ksrymy wrote:The best part of the film is Felicity Jones who makes a wholly believable character out of Jane Wilde Hawking. Her scenes opposite Charlie Cox are very, very good. It's the one aspect of the film which didn't leave me groaning.

Charlie Cox is sexy as hell. Okay, I'll see this now just for him!
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Re: The Theory of Everything reviews

Postby ksrymy » Fri Nov 21, 2014 10:34 pm

This is 100% awful, time-of-the-year Oscar bait seeing as AMPAS loves British biopics and all. The film practically screams, "GIVE ME AN OSCAR!" with all its usual, cliché crap.

There's a scene in the first act where Jane Wilde Hawking says, more or less, "That is the most British thing anyone has ever said," and it's funny because that is this movie in a nutshell. It dipped its hand into the bag of Ye Olde Film Tricks and drew out making every color dull except during the ending scene, excessive montage instructing you that it is time to cry, pulling the camera up to reveal that the character feels isolated (multiple times), and extended pause. These tired old tricks are the most useless and boring aspects of the whole movie.

What's more, the film is really just "The Big Bang Theory" for people like Academy voters. There are countless, stupid scenes such as, "Oh, dear! The nerds are talking about the science of sex!," and "Oh, dear! The nerd kissed a girl overly-nervously!," and "Oh, dear! The nerd tripped UP the stairs?! Isn't that novel?!" The script to this thing is filth.

At least Eddie Redmayne is okay. It's an alright physical performance even if he does choose between one or two tics to overemphasize the entire time; any comparisons to Daniel Day-Lewis's turn as Christy Brown are fraudulent and screaming to be noticed and taken seriously. The best part of the film is Felicity Jones who makes a wholly believable character out of Jane Wilde Hawking. Her scenes opposite Charlie Cox are very, very good. It's the one aspect of the film which didn't leave me groaning.

Garbage.
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Re: The Theory of Everything reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Wed Nov 12, 2014 5:32 pm

This year's Best Actor race sure seems to be shaping up in much the same manner as the last two years -- with so many guys being declared "locks" without people actually stopping to remember that there aren't more than five spots.

We've already seen Keaton and Redmayne, pretty sensational festival buzz has prepped us for Cumberbatch, Carell/Tatum, and Timothy Spall, and in the past few days, screenings of the year-end movies have vaulted David Oyelowo, Oscar Isaac, and Bradley Cooper into serious contention. Throw in a stronger-than-usual pack of genre wildcards (Fiennes, Gyllenhaal, Affleck, maybe Phoenix) and at least one still-unknown question mark (Jack O'Connell in Unbroken), and it seems like there are all sorts of ways this category could shake out that will leave plenty of men squeezed out the way Hanks and Redford were last year (or Hawkes the previous year).

All of this is to say...none of these guys should get too comfortable about their nomination the way Julianne Moore and Reese Witherspoon probably can be.

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Re: The Theory of Everything reviews

Postby flipp525 » Wed Nov 12, 2014 1:27 pm

God, is there any possible way I won't have to see this movie? It just looks so...ugh, "been there, done that."

A surprise Best Actor snub? Honestly, I'd rather a surprise Ben Affleck nomination take Redmayne's spot.
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Re: The Theory of Everything reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Tue Nov 11, 2014 10:40 am

ITALIANO wrote:
mlrg wrote:I have no doubt that reviews like the one Sasha (as well as other oscar bloggers) posted was/were payed for.


I wish! I mean, that would at least be a rational explanation - and a very possible one, in Italy or Portugal. But while corruption exists in the US, too, I really think that this is deeper, more psychological - and a product of mass culture, internet-style this time. They MUST like it.


If this were Jeff Wells, I'd say money could definitely be involved (he always goes easier on any movie that advertises on his site). But Sasha's idiot enthusiams have always seemed to me honestly earned; she's simply got crap taste that she hammers into the ground.

It brings to mind what John Simon said, when told Charles Champlin of the LA Times hadn't sold out to the industry -- "Well, they're not complete idiots; why should they buy what they have for free?"

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Re: The Theory of Everything reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Tue Nov 11, 2014 7:22 am

mlrg wrote:I have no doubt that reviews like the one Sasha (as well as other oscar bloggers) posted was/were payed for.


I wish! I mean, that would at least be a rational explanation - and a very possible one, in Italy or Portugal. But while corruption exists in the US, too, I really think that this is deeper, more psychological - and a product of mass culture, internet-style this time. They MUST like it.

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Re: The Theory of Everything reviews

Postby mlrg » Tue Nov 11, 2014 4:48 am

I have no doubt that reviews like the one Sasha (as well as other oscar bloggers) posted was/were payed for.

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Re: The Theory of Everything reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Mon Nov 10, 2014 4:25 pm

The Original BJ wrote:
ITALIANO wrote:I barely recognized Redmayne by the end and really thought I was watching Stephen Hawking.


Never heard this one before!



Exactly :D

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Re: The Theory of Everything reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Mon Nov 10, 2014 4:08 pm

ITALIANO wrote:I barely recognized Redmayne by the end and really thought I was watching Stephen Hawking.


Never heard this one before!


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