It’s odd to me that this film has become so controversial. It’s not that the issues aren’t there. Yes, this is more of a film about Jane Hawking and her romantic life than it is about Stephen Hawking and his scientific achievements. But it kind of baffles me that anyone could actually care about this movie enough to think it was worth having “controversy.” It isn’t that the film is really bad; it’s just that it’s very clichéd in the way it hews to the biopic conventions and very much Lifetime movie in its presentation. It’s unfortunate that the film itself has so little to say in the way of thematic meaning or artistic treatment, because it is anchored around two really superb performances by Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones. Redmayne’s physic al transformation is nothing short of astonishing; I think it’s the best performance as a real person I’ve ever seen just in terms of the physical resemblance. But the film flirts with various thematic resonances, like time and reversal and all of these things, but it never really does achieve any resonance with them. Still, it’s a film that can’t help but be elevated by those wonderful performances. For all its unfortunate blandness, I can’t really be too harsh. I give it a conditional recommendation. 3 stars.
tl;dr – bland, unremarkable script and direction unfortunately, but the two lead performances are nothing short of brilliant. 3 stars.