Lasse Galsgaard’s review published on Letterboxd :
Even though I am not someone who is excitingly interested in science, I am still someone who can appreciate the people who are interested and discover new things that help evolve our knowledge. Someone who I had a deep respect for was Stephen Hawking, who was definitely one our planet's brightest minds and someone who could see everything in a bigger perspective than anyone else on Earth. I have always been interested in seeing how he managed to find out so much about black holes and really everything in our galaxy that we actually have the slightest knowledge about. He has lived a brilliant life with a brilliant story, and in 2014, the film "The Theory of Everything" was released, to which I thought I found finally found out so much about him. Instead, I was treated to a film about his marriage to Jane Hawking and how they managed to help each other, but also how their marriage ultimately fell apart. The film's focus on Hawking is brilliant, but the love story came across as boring, with the film ultimately being a big disappointment to me.
However, I will say that this film have some wonderful attributes that ultimately make the film enjoyable. James Marsh who directed the film shoots with such a caring lens that captures every scene through a wonderful filter and creates great imagery that gives the film a more universal feeling; like we are all part of something bigger. Most of that credit should go to Benoît Delhomme, the cinematographer of this film, as it is because of him that the film looks wonderful and that universal feel could very well be because of his creative decisions, even though I suspect that it was more of a shared effort, but he really added a lot of flavor to this film.
There is a brilliant aspect to the film, and it is when it focuses on Stephen Hawking and his disease. His own personal evolution is something that was quite spectacular to witness, and I loved to see how Marsh brings him through some very challenging things, like simply trying to walk about the stairs. A very painful scene to watch depicts such an incident, and it's not painful in the way that it's a bad scene, but because you really feel for Stephen as the film have shown him when he was a normal man.
Much praise should also be given to the performances. Felicity Jones is very good as Jane Hawking, but she is upstaged by her co-star, because Eddie Redmayne gives an excellent performance as Stephen. His portrayal feels so real and the intense work that he must have went through to have look like someone who actually can't move anything in his body. That's hard to do as there will always be a genuine response from an actor after a longer period of time, but it seemed so smooth for Redmayne, who managed to impress me with what was probably one of the best performances I had seen all year, an totally worthy of the Oscar he ultimately got.
But while those scenes are impressive, the film does fall into a big failing space as it puts too much focus into the romance between him and Jane. This is due to a screenplay that decides to adapt one aspect of his life, which could be a compelling film for some, but ended up being a big missed opportunity for me. Anthony McCarten is a good screenwriter, but so many scenes seemed rushed in this film, whether it concerned the relationship between Stephen and Jane, or how he found out certain things. It all seemed to go incredibly fast and I found it extremely hard to keep up with.
The film have some extreme pacing issues and includes scenes that are supposed to be very sweet, and are so in a way, but ultimately comes across as unnecessary. There is a very sweet scene between Stephen and his friends after he has impressed a lot of professors with his theory about black holes, but while that scene was sweet, it felt disconnected to the rest of the story, as those friends hadn't really been properly developed. The character development in general is very rushed and that's also with more central characters like Jane, who needs a little more build-up to actually work completely.
It film is also way too melodramatic for me, and tried way too hard to be an emotional roller coaster, and while that could have worked, I think that Marsh fails by amping up certain scenes with some incredibly loud music to make the impact harder, and even though the music is great, I would have preferred it coming at me in smaller doses. The irritating thing is that there is a really good film somewhere inside this melodramatic mess, but because of an added focus on something that ultimately becomes a rather silly love story, I will say that the film is enjoyable, but an overall big disappointment for someone like me who was really looking forward to it.