You come out of the theater feeling the ending was a bit abrupt. ( And that is the rarest of feeling these days because there is an epidemic of things not ending when they should. We’ve almost collectively given up on editing.)
The other thing you come out feeling is why did they spend so much time on his relationship with his first wife, Jane, and why are some really difficult topics for his wife being discussed in his biopic? It seems mean-spirited. However, once you realize that the movie is based on a book written by Jane Hawking from her perspective on Stephen, and not the other way round, that the narrative structure makes sense. The film feels much more compelling and real.
We know the basic story already. Stephen Hawking is a brilliant, witty and charming Cambridge student of physics, cosmology and time, who ends up as a paraplegic due to Lou Gehrig’s disease. Against all odds, he survives and writes one of the most influential books - A Brief History of Time.
Given their recent releases, comparison to The Imitation Game are inescapable. While neither are great movies, The Theory is certainly a much better film. It is a much rounder, more realistic view of the genius’s life. It even indulges us and tries to explain Hawking’s esoteric ideas and does a pretty good job at it. Despite its overwhelming sense of sorrow, the film manages to be entertaining and funny even. It is fun to watch.
While Eddie Redmayne is quite good as Stephen, I think its really Felicity Jones who does real justice to a rare, rich role. Her taut frame, bright green eyes and body language portray all the complex emotions she feels. As the wife of a genius, but an extraordinarily difficult one - not just for his physical issues but for his mental demands, his continuous, oppressive wit and inability to provide any real emotional support for her, as someone who agrees to give up her life but never makes peace with it. Someone who wants a normal life and love but someone who must also be committed to this great mind. She might be one of the more interesting wives we've come to expect. Guess one has to write her own book to create a character like that.
As long as you don't go in expecting a detailed view of Stephen Hawking's life and his physics then the film is interesting and worth watching.