Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tales from the Cryptologist: “The Imitation Game” is an Important Historical Drama

There are so many important stories from World War II it’s almost impossible to keep track. Of course, there is once such story that was truly game changing. Years into the war a group of intelligent Britons, were tasked with deciphering a German Enigma machine. A task that could potentially be an important turning point in the war for the Allies. If the story of the Allies getting their hands on an Enigma machine sounds familiar it is: the 2000 submarine thriller “U-571” tells that storie of American sailors trying to get their hands on one of the devices. It was a film that was basically pure Hollywood myth – none of it really happened. “The Imitation Game” tells the real story – not so much getting the device- but Great Britain’s covert mission to break the code and help win the war. The man at the center of all this was mathematician Alan Turig (Benedict Cumberbatch) who became one of the most important people to help win the war – though no one ever knew it. This is his story.

“The Imitation Game” basically tells three stories. First, is a young Alan Turig during his unhappy teen years at a boarding school and his friendship with another male student. The film’s major storyline with involves an adult Alan as he’s recruited along with a small group of other math geniuses as they attempt to break the naval code from a recovered German Enigma machine circa 1941. And the third story takes places about a decade later as horrible allegations are being thrown at Alan because he’s found out as a gay man. All three stories are interwoven almost guaranteeing editor William Goldenberg an Academy Award nomination. Even with all the crosscutting we’re never truly confused as to what time period it is.

When a film is based on true events much is said about how those true events are depicted. Many have claimed the film has downplayed the fact that Alan was a gay man. It’s not downplayed, it’s just not the extreme focus of the film: this isn’t “Milk.” This is the story of an obviously lonely man (depicted here with an autistic-like social disorder which has been refuted) who’s goal was to serve his country who just so happened to be a homosexual. His friendship with fellow code breaker Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley) is the heart of the film as is probably one of the film’s highlights. The fact that the film doesn’t even reveal Alan’s sexuality until halfway through the film proves the film doesn’t want you to judge him. The film wants to show that despite whatever issues he had, and the troubling past, that he was able to overcome all that and do something terrific for his country.

Morten Tyldum  (I’ve never heard of him either) directs a solid feature though I can’t say I was overwhelmed visually. He wants his film to be a thriller but “Argo” this is not and “U-571” was the action thriller version of this story. Graham Moore’s script works more like a standard biopic with an obvious important goal for the characters. And since we know the eventual outcome, most of the suspense is sort of lost. That’s ok because one of the film’s strongest elements is its characters and the actors’ wonderful performances. Cumberbatch is very strong here especially in the film’s later scenes where he’s forced to keep the secret that he had anything to do with helping the Allies win the war. The film’s goal, even if it isn’t completely historically accurate (this isn’t a documentary remember) is to bring to live an important real life story. Unfortunately, Alan is eventually persecuted for being gay and isn’t recognized as the war hero he really was. He was a genius who basically invented the computer so he could crack the German code. The things he created and accomplished are still around to this day.

Overall “The Imitation Game” is a very strong film. Since I’m not an expert in British lingo I sort of got lost in some of the political and historical aspects of the film, but even if you’re not an expert in 1940s British history you can generally get what the film is trying to accomplish. It’s more of a straightforward drama than the suspense thriller it sort of wants to be but it doesn’t mean there aren’t pretty thrilling moments. It actually makes a pretty decent companion piece to this year’s other British biopic “The Theoryof Everything.” They’re two films about extremely different people who both did extremely important things with their lives. Thanks guys, way to make the rest of us feel like crap.  GRADE: B 

Trailer for The Imitation Game on TrailerAddict.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Politically Incorrect: “The Interview” is a Controversial Piece of Cinematic Hilarity

Seth Rogen has certainly proven himself to Hollywood. He started acting in silly comedies and even worked up into writing them. Heck, last year he even started directing. His directorial debut “This is the End” was a hilarious mix of meta Hollywood humor, fantasy-horror, and disaster flick that was hysterical and satirical. It was a movie that felt larger than life. It makes sense that his next feature  with co-director Evan Goldberg (though Dan Sterling gets sole screenwriting credit here) would try to top it. And they certainly have. While “The Interview” isn’t necessarily better than “This is the End” it shows so much more promise that Rogen and Goldberg are certainly creative forces to be reckoned with. And they’re certainly not scared of the evil dictatorship that they mock incessantly in it.

In “The Interview” Rogen plays Aaron Rapoport the producer of an entertainment talk show called Skylark Tonight. The onscreen host Dave Skylark, played by James Franco, and he’s as outrageous, cocky, and stupid as you would expect the host of this type of show to be. In fact I’m pretty certain that Rogen and Goldberg are more interested in mocking the American media and the entertainment industry more than they want to mock North Korea. Speaking of North Korea, it turns out that their supreme leader Kim Jong-un (Randall Park) just so happens to be a big fan of Skylark Tonight and wants to appear on the program. Being one of those reclusive leaders, Aaron and Dave plan to fly out to North Korea to induct what is sure to be the biggest interview of their careers.

In the meantime CIA agent Lacey (Lizzy Caplan) recruits Aaron and Dave to assassinate Jong-un because he’s on the brink of starting a nuclear war. It must be said that hiring Aaron and Dave to assassinate one of the most dangerous leaders in the world is probably the stupidest idea the CIA could ever come up with but this is a silly action comedy so we need to just go with it. Aaron and Dave are briefed on how the plan will work and it seems anything but a simple task. They’re concerned but they see it as a prime opportunity – especially Dave who insists that it be filmed as it would be denying his audience a terrific “money shot.”

When Aaron and Dave get to North Korea they’re sort of surprised. Aaron is quickly taken in by his surroundings as everything seems pretty normal. He even meets Kim Jong-un face to face and he seems like a pretty cool guy. They hang out, play basketball, and even get with the ladies. Aaron, who is the obvious intelligence of the duo, sees right through the dictator as he’s known as a master manipulator. Will Aaron get it together or will he have trouble assassinating the guy who’s starting to become friends with?

“The Interview” is utterly ridiculous in the best way possible. All political satires are and should be. It’s easy to decry the film as being inappropriate, or politically incorrect, or offensive. It’s hard not to take a step back and realize how crazy the film truly is (though I feel Rogen & Co are much more interested in making dirty jokes and making fun of the media more than it mocks North Korea) but it’s also something worth admiring. Even with all of the controversy surrounding the film, it’s ultimately just a silly action comedy. It plays on tropes  of different genres and feels like a best of. There are movie and pop culture references everywhere and the film feels like it was made for the same generation of moviegoers who grew up watching everything that came out of Reagan Era Hollywood. It even features some sequences that were genuinely suspenseful. It almost feels like a strange cross between “Pineapple Express” and “Zero Dark Thirty.”

I’m not saying the film is a classic American comedy, but those who know what they’re getting into will find much to enjoy. In a way it feels like a modern (though much more vulgar and graphically violent) version of “Dr. Strangelove” or “The Great Dictator”; those being political satires that were controversial in their day.  It’s almost like “Team American: Wold Police” without the puppets. And it’s certainly proof that even today you can’t keep a good political comedy down.  GRADE:A-

Trailer for The Interview on TrailerAddict.

The Trees of Life: “Into the Woods” is a Wonderful Fairy Tell Reworking

In the years since directing the Oscar-winning musical “Chicago” nearly 12 years ago, Rob Marshall has been in desperate need of a hit. He was sort of looking like a one-hit wonder after helming the beautiful-looking but underwhelming “Memoirs of a Geisha” and “Nine.” Even a foray into the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise didn’t do much to prove he was able to direct something as great as his directorial debut. Now we have the long awaited (for many) release of the Broadway classic “Into the Woods” which brings together lots of well-known fairy tale characters and interweaves a fascinating story about curses, giants, and a large forest where magical things happen. I can finally say Mr. Marshall has finally given his “Chicago” fans another film they can love as “Into the Woods” is a wild success offering wonderful characters, a fun story, an equal dose of drama and comedy, and catchy songs you’ll be singing along to without a doubt.

Having not known much about the original Broadway show “Into the Woods” I went in not expecting too much and I left pleasantly surprised. Composer and lyricist Steven Sondheim and book writer James Lapine (who also wrote the screenplay) have crafted a truly wonderful story – it’s as light as it is dark – that takes a bunch of fairy tale characters and creates a sort of Robert Altman story where certain characters cross paths and affect each other’s stories. The main plot concerns a baker (James Corden) and his nameless wife (Emily Blunt). They have been unable to conceive a child and they want one dearly. It turns out the old witch next door (Meryl Streep) had placed a curse on the baker’s family. She offers them a chance to reverse the curse if they can bring her four specific items from the woods that include references to Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood.

It’s pretty amazing how well these interlocking stories work together. Each character has some sort of wish or ultimate goal and each is affected by the actions of the other characters. When Jack heads into the woods to sell his family’s cow, the baker’s wife offers him seemingly worthless beans given to her by the witch. And we all fill in the blanks in the story once we see that the beans have created a giant beanstalk headed for the sky. Cinderella (Anna Kendrick) who longs to live in the castle with the prince (Chris Pine) gets a chance to attend the ball but after realizes the prince may not be her cup of tea. It’s the baker’s wife who sets her eyes on the charming prince.

All of these fun vignettes are interwoven with brilliant songs that exhibit the characters’ ultimate desires and wants. But as the old saying goes, “be careful what you wish for.” And if you think you know how all these famous stories will end you’re dead wrong. The film’s already established story is extremely strong so Marshall has a tremendous foundation to work from. And unlike the songs-as-fantasy element he perfected in “Chicago” he takes another road here and let’s characters break out into song when necessary. By now we’re all pretty much used to it, especially since the general tone of the film is of a live action Disney musical.

“Into the Woods” has its dark elements; it seems as though the entire point of the film was to actually going against the whole good-natured Disney work but here we have Into the Woods as a Disney production. And even if the film carries a family-friendly PG rating there’s enough here to satisfy adults and plenty here to scare even the most desensitized young child.

Again one of the strongest elements of “Into the Woods” besides its fantastic story and its wonderful songs, are the company of actors who have brought the movie to life. Streep is a wonder to behold as always as the scene-stealing old witch. Blunt is simply delightful as the Baker’s wife and has an amazing voice. Many will be rather impressed with Chris Pine’s crooning. He hams it up with fellow prince co-star Billy Magnussen (who’s storyline with Rapunzel feels the weakest and most underdeveloped in the entire film) in perfectly campy and hilarious sequence as they sing about longing after the loves of their lives. The entire ensemble is really amazing.

“Into the Woods” is a really fun movie. It’s something anyone can enjoy whether you’re a fan of the original show or not. Its ingenious story takes everything you know about fairy tales and sort of turns it upside down. It’s a beautifully polished production with top-notch effects, camerawork, and beautiful costumes and art direction. It’s certainly one of the best movie musicals in some time.  GRADE: A-

Trailer for Into the Woods on TrailerAddict.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Artist: “Big Eyes” is a Delightful Change of Pace for Tim Burton

“Big Eyes” is the Tim Burton film you never thought Tim Burton would ever make. It makes sense that he would make it, but it is definitely the most un-Tim Burton film he has ever made. First of all, it doesn’t feature Johnny Depp or Helena Bonham Carter and it has no fantastical elements whatsoever (except for a brief surrealist sequence). Heck, even Danny Elfman’s score doesn’t sound like a Danny Elfman score. On paper this sounds just awful for the Tim Burton fan, but as someone who loves all of his films (yes even his “Planet of the Apes” has some merit) I found “Big Eyes” to be a refreshing change of pace and shows an artist at work prepared to change things up a bit. It makes sense then that this film is actually about an artist.

When you really take a good look at “Big Eyes” even if it feels unlike most Tim Burton’s other films, it has elements we’ve definitely seen before. Even if the film takes a more realistic approach it has a whimsy to it that only Mr. Burton can give a film. The pastels take over here and the film’s setting feels like an expanded version of the pastel 50s suburbia he presented in “Edward Scissorhands.” Burton also downplays any sort of obvious visual effects. This is not “Alice in Wonderland,” though at times the cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel gives the film an almost soft, dreamlike quality. For as many elements that feel like things that you’d see in a Tim Burton film, there are other elements that just aren’t there. Did I mention that this is a movie about an artist taking credit for another artist’s work? Coincidence?

“Big Eyes” tells the true story of artist Margaret Keane (Amy Adams). She famously painted pictures of children with large eyes. After leaving her husband with her young daughter in two she attempted to make a life for herself in California while selling her sort-of-creepy-in-a-Tim-Burton-way portraits. There she meets the charming Walter (Christoph Waltz), a struggling artist himself, whom she later marries. The couple is an indelible pair. Margaret  is the obviously more talented painter but Walter makes a great businessman, schmoozing with art gallery owners and restaurant owners to let his wife’s works be displayed for sale. Later, a quick misunderstand leads to Walter taking credit for Margaret’s work which snowballs until they are both committing full on fraud. Walter insists it’s best for business: people would rather buy art from a male artist obviously and he knows how to basically charm people into buying the art (even though people who buy it obviously really like it). But is that really fair? Not at all.

The film’s screenplay was written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, who specialize in telling the true life story of strange people. They previously wrote “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” “Man on the Moon,” and Burton’s “Ed Wood.” Here they give Margaret the spotlight that she deserves and Amy Adams plays her with all the spunk, appeal, and emotion that you’d expect from the always terrific actress. And Waltz matchers her in every way. He’s a appealing guy; you get why Margaret would be intrigued by him and it makes sense that he’s able to make the big eye paintings the success they were. However, once you get to know more about Walter and his ultimate drive towards “success” you see the monster that was hiding in plain sight. It all wraps up in a quirky courtroom scene that feels almost out of place (the film has a weird mix of almost silly comedy and very serious drama) but Burton directs it with the verve that he’s been so absent in his last few films.

“Big Eyes” is the shot in the arm Tim Burton really needed. With a fresh cast and a fresh palette he has created something that is very different from what he’s done before and yet it has Burton marked all over it. You won’t find any weird creatures or freakish outcasts but his quirky personality really shines through (and you really get the sense that Burton has been heavily inspired by Margaret’s work). Even if it’s the most un-Tim Burton film he’s ever made it feels like the one many have been waiting for.  GRADE: B+ 

Trailer for Big Eyes on TrailerAddict.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Army of Darkness: Peter Jackson’s Fantasy Series Concludes with “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”

It’s a proven fact that my brain lacks the ability to fully comprehend anything Tolkien-related. Otherwise I can’t really explain my distaste for the many fantasy epics that so many others love. It is with that foundation that it must be said that the final film in “The Hobbit” series has two things going for it: it’s officially the shortest of all these Middle Earth-set films and it’s most definitely the last (at least for some time). “The Hobbit” prequel series have always felt like a series of films made especially for strict fans who can’t get enough of Middle Earth. Odds are if you’re into fantasy films and enjoy seeing hobbits and elves and dwarves and other fantastical creatures fight each other odds are “The Hobbit” is right up your alley. But is it a fitting ending to the trilogy?

“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” is mostly all action and why shouldn’t it be? Filmmaker Peter Jackson, who could practically make one of these films blindfolded by now, had two films to set up the plot and characters and get his audience invested in the story. If you were invested in the first two films you’ll most likely care about who lives and who dies in this third chapter. If you recall, we left off with the dragon Smaug being unleashed on the town of Laketown. The film opens with a rousing disaster pic set piece as Smaug attacks the small city. It feels like a great opening but it also feels like it should have actually been the ending of the previous film. How much of an awesome cliffhanger would it have been to not know whether Bard (Luke Evans) and his son were killed in the destruction?

After Smaug’s destruction a bunch of stuff happens that i could care less about. And apparently every group of fantastical creature in Middle Earth wants the mountain filled with gold. Orcs and elves and trolls and more attack the dwarves in the mountain leading to the battle of the film’s title. It’s all rousing and I found myself decently entertained throughout even if I personally didn’t feel very invested in the conflict. There’s something about our hobbit hero Bibo (Martin Freeman) hiding an Infinity Stone, err, sorry wrong universe, the Arkenstone which in true McGuffin form “does something important.”

I personally can’t distinguish these three Hobbit films from each other very well. They all feel like one cohesive narrative, so I’m not sure that one is really better than another. And the evenly paced film nice and neatly leads right into the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring. This last entry has the most action and fighting so that’s either a good thing or a bad thing depending on what floats your boat. Odds are if you’ve enjoyed the first two films there’s not much to complain about here. It won’t necessarily make anyone beg and plead for yet another trip to Middle Earth and I’ve certainly had my share. 

Trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies on TrailerAddict.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Wrestler: “Foxcatcher” is a Disturbing Film with Stunning Performances

Director Bennett Miller is a genius at getting amazing performances out of his actors. Don’t believe it? His first two feature films had four acting Oscar nominations between them (and one win for the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman in “Capote”), and his latest drama “Foxcatcher” is almost guaranteed at least two more.  More disturbing than the film itself is that the best performance in the film is from the actor you’d least suspect: Channing Tatum.  As real-life Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz, Tatum gives a career defining performance as a lonely man determined to win. Steve Carrell, known for years as goofy workplace boss Michael Scott on the sitcom “The Office,” gives an equally impressive performance as an equally lonely guy with a severe personality issue. He plays the real life eccentric millionaire John E.  du Pont who coached wrestlers on his wealthy Pennsylvania family’s estate and ultimately used his fortune to make friends.  His relationship (which eventually sours) with the young Olympic gold medalist is the core of the film and offers one of the most creepy and disturbing real life stories put on film this year.

“Foxcatcher” is not going to be a film that is easily loved by everyone. It has a pervasively disturbing atmosphere. It sort of leaves you feeling icky. And that’s a credit to the wonderful performers and Miller who has crafted a purposely slow-moving and eerie film. Granted this isn’t a horror film by any means but something horrific does eventually happen (a real life incident which I won’t spoil here). This is Miller’s third feature film and it feels like a weird hybrid of this first two movies: “Capote” which also features a uncannily good lead performance, and “Moneyball” a fascinating true-life sports drama.

This film depicts the real life story of Mark Schultz who is recruited by du Pont. Du Pont is determined to train and coach a winning wrestling team to compete in the 1988 summer Olympics.  He invites Mark and other wrestlers to live and train on his fancy rural estate. Du Pont is a strange, peculiar man as depicted by a nearly unrecognizable Carrell. The makeup is as impressive as Carrell’s chilling performance. Du Pont is a creepy fellow and he’s shown as a man of solitude who you quickly realize is an extremely lonely and disturbed man. Schultz and Du Pont hit it off and form a sort of father-son relationship. That chemistry is soon disturbed by the arrival of Mark’s older wrestler brother David (Mark Ruffalo). Mark and David have their own issues but the well-meaning David soon drives an unintentional wedge between du Pont and Mark which eventually has devastating consequences.

Miller is a fascinating director because he really lets the actors do most of the work. He coaxes terrific performances from them and doesn’t let things like fancy camerawork get in the way (though as disturbing as the film is the photography is almost beautiful). He builds tension almost unbearably slow. The script from E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman is equally fascinating and mellow. You really get a sense of who these people are. Mark and Du Pont are lonely individuals who only want to succeed. The problem is that ultimately they’re standing in each other’s way. Carrell in particular is amazing at not only getting the physical mannerisms of Du Pont but in showcasing the almost cold rhythms of his character’s inner turmoil. He’s criticized by his cold, elderly mother (Vanessa Redgrave) and which almost gives him a weird Norman Bates quality (not to mention his weird obsession with birds and his almost homoerotic fascination with wrestling).

Everyone is great in “Foxcatcher” but Tatum almost steals the show from Carrell and his creepy, pointy noise. His depiction of a lonely athlete determined to succeed is nothing short of brilliant. The entire ensemble works amazingly well together and the overall icky feeling the film projects is spot on by Miller who gives us only his third film. It’s an amazing achievement for a filmmaker to present a real life story that is filled with heart-stopping tension (the wrestling scenes are shot and edited particularly well) and yet is one of the slowest and meditative films of the year all the while already knowing what ultimately happens. That’s the power of great filmmaking.  GRADE: A- 

Trailer for Foxcatcher on TrailerAddict.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

2015 Golden Globe Award nomination predictions

Best Motion Picture – Drama
Gone Girl
The Imitation Game
(The Theory of Everything  - if there are 6 nominees)

Best Motion Picture – Musical/Comedy
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Inherent Vice
Into the Woods
St. Vincent

Best Actress – Drama
Julianne Moore – Still Alice
Reese Witherspoon – Wild
Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything
Shailene Woodley – The Fault in Our Stars

Best Actress– Musical/Comedy
Amy Adams – Big Eyes
Angelina Jolie – Maleficent
Emily Blunt – Into the Woods
Julianne Moore – Maps to the Stars
Keira Knightly – Begin Again

Best Actor – Drama
Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything
Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
Steve Carrell – Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper – American Sniper
David Oyelowo - Selma

Best Actor – Musical/Comedy
Michael Keaton – Birdman
Ralph Fiennes – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Bill Murray – St. Vincent
Joaquin Phoenix – Inherent Vice
James Corden – Into the Woods

Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
Emma Stone – Birdman
Meryl Streep – Into the Woods
Keira Knightly – The Imitation Game
Anna Kendrick – Into the Woods

Best Supporting Actor
J.K. Simmons – Whiplash
Edward Norton – Birdman
Ethan Hawke – Boyhood
Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher
Johnny Depp – Into the Woods

Best Director
Richard Linklater – Boyhood
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu – Birdman
Angelina Jolie – Unbroken
David Fincher – Gone Girl
Clint Eastwood – American Sniper

Best Screenplay
Gone Girl
The Imitation Game

Best Animated Feature
The Lego Movie
Big Hero 6
How to Train Your Dragon 2
The Boxrolls
The Book of Life

Monday, December 01, 2014

The Sounds of Science: “The Theory of Everything” Features Top Notch Performances

You simply won’t believe your eyes when you see Eddie Redmayne’s performance as theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. It’s an amazing, transformative performance that elevates the film above the typical bio-pic Oscar bait that we usually see this time of year. “The Theory of Everything” isn’t a documentary. If you want to learn about the theories and science from the mind of Mr. Hawking look elsewhere. The film deals with the relationship with his wife Jane (Felicity Jones) and the onset of his motor neuron disease that robbed him of his ability to move and speak but not his ability to be a brilliant scientist. The film is a sort of hybrid of “A Beautiful Mind” and “The Diving Bell and theButterfly” without the former film’s plot twists and the latter film’s artistic merit. The film is simply told, written, and shot, but it’s the film’s performances that truly make the film work.

The film starts as a college-aged Stephen Hawking begins wooing a young college-aged Jane Wilde while attending the University of Cambridge in 1960s England. As their relationship begins to take off Stephen begins noticing strange things about his body that results in a terrible prognosis: he’s given two years to live. He’s diagnosed with a neurological disorder similar to that of Lou Gehrig’s disease. He quickly insists on shutting everyone out including his college friends and Jane. But Jane is defiant and declares her love for Stephen and so begins their rocky relationship including marriage and children, which we get to see in short bursts depicted in nifty 8mm home movie montages. As time passes Stephen’s condition worsens, first to the point where he can’t walk and then after having a tracheotomy, no longer being able to speak. 

There’s no real focus on Hawking’s scientific theories, but how many of us would actually understand much of it anyways? And unless they were to add some “A Beautiful Mind” storyline trickery, I believe the film’s current straightforward narrative was the wise choice. The film’s script by Anthony McCarten is more interested in the relationship than Stephen’s scientific theories as it should be – the film is based on Jane Wilde Hawking’s book about her life with Stephen. Director James Marsh (“Man on Wire”), denies the film any real sort of standout visual energy but rather focuses on the performances of his actors. Redmayne is a revelation giving such an astounding physical performance that’s equally as good as anything Daniel Day-Lewis did in “My Left Foot.” He knows how to rein it in however, refusing to ever overact. He gets the job done flawlessly. Jones’ work is much more subtle though it makes sense – she’s in the supportive wife role and therefore has a less meaty role. She does get more to do when the film introduces church organist Jonathan (Charlie Cox) who Jane begins to have feelings for. Composer Jóhann Jóhannsson’s piano-centric score is also a standout.

“The Theory of Everything” is a nice little film. It’s not particularly flashy or fancy but it presents an interesting unconventional love story with really good performances, especially Redmayne’s moving, show-stopping performance elevates the film almost singlehandedly. He's almost as brilliant as the man he plays. I was really emotionally invested in the film and its triumphant story. It does sort of gloss over the more scientific aspects of Stephen Hawking’s life but it’s a triumph of simple storytelling done well.  GRADE: B+

Trailer for The Theory of Everything on TrailerAddict.