What an amazing performance. This is not so much a movie as it is a magic show in which Eddie Redmayne completely vanishes – slowly — and Stephen Hawking appears in his place and Eddie never comes back. His is the best, but not the only, marvel in this film. Credit Felicity Jones also with finding Jane’s toughness and tenderness, her fierce resolve and quiet determination. Jane married Stephen when he was told he had only two years to live, but as she said, “I love him and he loves me” and she intended to make the best of whatever time they had. And, director James Marsh, whose previous credits are limited, stages and conducts everything in a way that feels absolutely real and true to the period. In so many scenes, the lighting and the cinematography (by Benoit Delhomme, who most recently shot “A Most Wanted Man”) are as magical and as transforming as Redmayne’s performance.
This is not flashy work, but it’s brilliant. For what the cast and crew had to contend with – like Stephen and Jane themselves – what they accomplished is extraordinary. This is based on Jane’s second autobiography – “Traveling to Infinity: My Life With Stephen” – which, although kinder than her first one, is supposedly a bit of a slog and so it may be understandable that the performances are better than the story. The plot often plods – and in obvious directions; sometimes, like Stephen’s wheelchair, it simply goes around. Despite the lightness of Hawking’s wit, this is not a feel-good film. But all that being said, this is a movie that should bring Redmayne his rightly due – the Oscar nomination for an amazing piece of work. And the ending feels exactly right for a movie that is about time and space and a very special relationship that transcended both.