The Theory of Everything

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
The Theory of Everything Movie Poster Image
 Parents recommendPopular with kids
Hawking's brilliant mind comes to life in thoughtful drama.
  • PG-13
  • 2014
  • 123 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 22 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Perseverance and compassion are major themes. No matter how grave the diagnosis that Hawking receives, he doesn't let it get in the way of what he wants to do with his life and work, thanks in large part to his supportive wife, Jane, who makes sure he has everything he needs. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Hawking is brilliant and enormously resilient, especially in the face of a dire medical diagnosis. And his wife's support and concern are essential, allowing him to thrive despite all the difficulties he faces.


At one point Hawking suffers what looks to be a pretty painful fall and is shown suffering through his illness.


Some kissing and frank discussion of Hawking's sexuality in the face of a motor-neuron disease. In one scene, he's shown paging through a Penthouse magazine with the help of a female assistant.


"Sod off," "tits," and "damn."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some social drinking at pubs and events.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Theory of Everything is a biopic about world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne). It's inspiring, but it doesn't shy away from exploring the indignities visited upon Hawking when he's diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease. It also deals with some mature subjects -- including marital discord, infidelity, and near-death experiences -- and has some frank conversations about sexuality (as well as hints of sex between Hawking and his wife and a glimpse of a character looking through Penthouse magazine). Characters discuss the existence of God. It's all engrossing, compelling stuff, but it might be a little mature for tweens and younger.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 11 and 15-year-old Written byCarlos E. March 22, 2018

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 d... Continue reading
Adult Written byLEAHYO February 14, 2015

8 Year-Old Sister Absolutely Loved It

There are certainly some sexual suggestions, but they seemed to either fly over my sisters head, or didn't bother her enough to really hone in on. They are... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old December 23, 2014

A Life Changer

The life of the brilliant man Stephen Hawking sparks anyone who sees this movie. It is about Hawking and his experience with the disease that changed his life,... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byTennis886 August 1, 2015

AMAZING story of a great role model

I absolutely loved the film! Great role models and messages! Steven Hawking was diagnosed with ALS at 21, and was told he had roughly 2 years to live... This wa... Continue reading

What's the story?

In 1963, two significant events occur in the life of Cambridge University cosmology student Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne): He meets Jane (Felicity Jones), the woman who will become his wife and greatest supporter, and he decides that he'll study the nature of time and work to discover THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING. Then, along the way, he discovers that he's suffering from ALS, a degenerative motor-neuron disease that has no cure. Hawking is given two years to live, but Jane is having none of it. She refuses to let the diagnosis stand in the way of their relationship -- or his research. Soon Hawking's brilliant mind is discovered by the rest of the world, but his success masks the enormous challenges that he, Jane, and their three children must face.

Is it any good?

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Hawking's life before and after his diagnosis. Does The Theory of Everything appear to have a point of view about how his challenges defined him -- and his marriage?

  • How does the movie handle the subject of Hawking's disease and its effects on his professional and personal life? How does his disease affect his relationship with Jane? How is she portrayed?

  • How accurate do you think the movie is? Why might filmmakers have changed some details of what happened in real life? Are biopics obliged to be completely true to life?

  • How does The Theory of Everything promote perseverance and compassion? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science

Character Strengths

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