Parents' Guide to

The Theory of Everything

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Hawking's brilliant mind comes to life in thoughtful drama.

Movie PG-13 2014 123 minutes
The Theory of Everything Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 10 parent reviews

age 14+

Embodiment of!

I would have given this film three stars except for one big reason. Eddie Redmayne's performance...his performance is incredible. His obsessiveness to capture the body deterioration that ALS ravaged on Stephen Hawking is impressive. Although it is sugar-coated it is also important to catch a glimpse into the realm of a caregivers role in allowing and assisting someone to be great. So you know...patriarchy, but it's wrapped in romantic bubble wrap.
age 15+

Not for Young Teens

The film deals with very complex situations. The gradual crippling of Hawking is already heartbreaking, his love story with his wife Jane is beautiful and her devotion to him is exemplary. However, things start getting less edifying when life gets harder for the couple. Jonathan, Jane's church's choir director, a handsome and recent widower, gets involved with the family in a relationship that turns very ambiguous as he and Jane have feelings for each other. The situation becomes public and even raises the (unfounded) suspicion that Jonathan might be the father of Jane's baby. Hawking himself seems to agree to these affections, but then, on his turn, takes a fancy to his voluptuous nurse and dumps Jane. She eventually returns to her old platonic love and marries him. Although no graphic images are shown, I found the scene where Hawking's nurse perversely enjoys showing him pornographic magazines quite disturbing. Hawking's atheism is also voiced repeatedly throughout the film (as is Jane's and Jonathan's Christianity). Acting is excellent as it is the cinematography. Good film for adults but not for the younger ones.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (10):
Kids say (24):

With enormous compassion, this movie looks beyond the brilliant mind that Hawking is best known for. As a student at Cambridge University in 1963, he proved himself gifted early on, but his ascent in academia was marred by his diagnosis, which came just as he met Jane. Together they decide to face the future and whatever it brings, but hope, brilliance, and love can't solve everything. Naysayers might minimize Redmayne's performance here as awards bait, but he's transcendent as Hawking, not once stooping to caricature in creating a character who's deeply sympathetic despite an intellectual pursuit that might intimidate so many others. He makes Hawking more than the legend he becomes.

Part of The Theory of Everything 's appeal is how, despite being a movie about big science -- which, let's be honest, isn't adequately made comprehensible here -- is actually a story about not just the triumph of the human spirit but also an insightful look at a deeply loving but unconventional marriage. Jane isn't given short shrift here, as many other movies about great men have done for the women by their side. Her yearnings and struggles are laid bare. For a story about one of the greatest minds of this generation, the film is deeply emotional, even allowing viewers to witness the failure of the marriage that allowed Hawking to thrive. Your heart will break, as surely as the universe continues to expand.

Movie Details

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