Sunday, 4 January 2015

The Theory Of Everything


The Theory Of Everything is a worthy film . The story of the relationship between Steven Hawking and his wife Jane from their meeting in 1960s Cambridge until their break up in the 1980s is one that I have seen reenacted many many times during my days working with spinal Cord Injury patients. The pressures of caring for a severely disabled loved one so often creates an insurmountable wedge in even the most robust of relationships and this difficult journey was sensitively and at times beautifully observed in the James March fïlm, as Jane Hawking ( Felicity Jones) and Husband Steven ( Eddie Redmayne) finally split after years of battling his motor neurone disease together.


Regular readers of Going Gently may remember that my brother Andrew died from motor neurone disease three years ago now, and I must admit that some scenes in the film, I found rather difficult to watch. One sequence in particular had a certain resonance with me.
It  was the scene where the  already disabled Hawking hosted a meal with his university chums after obtaining his PhD. As the table banter of eating and drinking grew louder, Hawking's alienation from the situation increased, so much so he felt obliged to leave the table to sit alone on the stairs.
I witnessed a similar scene when at a family meal , my brother who was unable to eat a normal diet, got up from the table during a coughing fit to sit alone in the living room out of the way.
I remember the family carrying on with the dinner the best we could, while my brother in law quietly joined my brother in an act of support and solidarity.
I also remember that he kissed my brother on the head, a little gesture of sweetness in the face of a very, very cruel illness.
Funny what you remember eh?


32 comments:

  1. I also liked the movie and came away with a profound respect for both main characters. I have always been in awe of Stephen Hawking since reading his first book. That mind is an international treasure. What a terrible price this disease exacts! Praying for a cure.

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    1. Mary ,
      Jane I have heard on radio being interviewed and she is measured but still angry that it was Hawking that finished the marriage not her

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    2. How interesting! If I remember in the movie it was almost a mutual decision. Amazing that in spite of his infirmities, Stephen has managed a full social life.

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  2. I will try to see this film in the week ahead. Thanks for the heads up John - even though it clearly brought back some painful memories of your brother's demise. I heard that in preparing for his role, Eddie Redmayne met Steven Hawking a few times and also talked with several other victims of MN and their families. He was so keen to do a good job.

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  3. I really would like to see this film. Thank you for the review.

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  4. A very, very dear friend of mine died from a horrible neurological disease. Fortunately or unfortunately, it took her mind as it took her body. I have so many memories which are incredibly painful. Fuck. It's just hard.

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  5. Sounds like a good film to watch John, appreciate the review. I had a sister. And I don't know Mrs. Moon up there above me but I love the way she writes. Ditto her sentiments.

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  6. Thanks for the review. It looks like an award winner. I've heard you speak of your brother...I think I wandered over to your sister's blog once and read about him there, too.

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  7. We also saw this movie this weekend and thought it was wonderful. The two lead actors were terrific.

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  8. I thought of you and your brother when I saw the film. It gave a sense of poignancy. I thought it was a very good film with great acting.
    Cheers, Peter

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  9. Good health is really everything.

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  10. Until you mentioned it i did not know that they split in the '80's...... sad.

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  11. I was already expecting it to be, in parts, an uncomfortable watch even though, unlike you and others, I've got no personal direct connection to anyone who's had to undergo this condition. I suppose the knowledge what Hawking has achieved since its onset, and in the face of such unimaginable hardships, will make it slightly easier to take.
    Looks like another banker for Oscar recognition, which just LOVES the depiction of individuals suffering and battling against the odds. I'm a Redmayne fan anyway, so that helps.

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  12. My grandfather died of MN when my dad was five years old. Going to see this film will be, I think, emotionally educational for me.

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  13. I think I'd be in bits watching this film. Your piece about your brother brought a lump to my throat.

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  14. I heard Hawking's ex say recently that they found it hard to tell the difference between that wedding photo and the real one.

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  15. I just met someone here in our own "trelawnyd" who reminded me something I said to her 40 years ago. I did remember what it was.

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  16. I made the decision not to see this film yet. My partner died of MND last year and it all feels too raw still.

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    1. Sorry for your loss, awful, horrid disease.

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  17. I look forward to the movie. I empathize with Jane.

    Love,
    Janie

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  18. Sounds like a challenging film for many

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  19. Small acts of kindness can have a bigger effect than we will ever know.

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  20. That movie was on my list to see during the holidays, but I missed it. Hopefully, it will return to the theaters because of award nominations.

    It is amazing how long Stephen has lived with this disease. Most with ALS live less than five years, although a friend of my son has lived almost 20. It tales a village to care for those afflicted with this terrible illness.

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  21. This is one film I would really like to see.

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  22. I plan to see the movie when it comes to our town. That beautiful mind!

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  23. A very touching real life scene to remember, John.....and never forget.
    Thanks for sharing this.

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  24. Being a newer reader, I didn't know that about your brother. It sounds like a very effective movie, especially so for you. I like Eddie Redmayne -- he was good in that movie about Marilyn Monroe that came out a few years ago.

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  25. I look forward to seeing this film, as soon as I can.

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  26. We do tend to remember the pain and the tenderness.

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  27. Bless your dear brother.

    I've been reading this blog. http://havesomedecorum.blogspot.ca/ Ellie has ALS. Her blog is delightful. Especially great was her post a few back titled "Fat Fuck". A must read for you John. I know you will love her sense of humor.

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