I was very ready to dislike this movie. Yet another biopic with a plucky national treasure as its subject. Probably over-hyped, we already know the plot and Eddie Redmayne is not my favourite actor.
Well, how wrong can you be. Forget all that has been said about Hawking’s scientific credentials, forget the dreaming spires locations; ignore even the uncanny physical resemblance of Redmayne to his subject – all this is incidental. What you have left is fractured love story, a portrayal of devotion and some consummate acting. It is the performances of the Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones that lift this movie to a higher plane. The way Redmayne morphs his body into that of Hawking is pretty amazing, but it’s what he does with his face, the eyes and the crooked smile that cuts to the quick. When you look at the back catalogue you kind of expected that Redmayne will do a good job. What I didn’t expect was the depth and pathos of Jones’s performance. This was a welcome surprise and hopefully will lead to more substantial work for her in the future.