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In the 1960s, brilliant young Stephen Hawking was working hard to unravel the mysteries of the universe, just as his body was beginning to unravel itself. Actor Eddie Redmayne is terrific—he just won the Oscar for Best Actor for this portrayal—as the smart, awkward Hawking falling in love with his wife-to-be, Jane, played by the equally wonderful Felicity Jones. As Hawking comes to grips with the reality of his disease, Jane is the rock that keeps him going.

Visually, this is a lovely film to watch. It inspires an appreciation for the everyday beauty of life and for the gift of each day. Jane gets particularly kind treatment, which is not surprising since the movie is adapted from her autobiography. 

I saw this movie the day after I saw Selma, which made for an interesting comparison of Martin Luther King Jr. and Stephen Hawking. Selma is, in part, about a man who pursues his goals and dreams because he feels that God is propelling him to do so. He is considered a hero because of his selfless pursuit of justice in the face of personal danger.

By contrast,The Theory of Everything is about an atheist who pursues the origins of the universe with the belief that God is an unnecessary illusion. He is considered a hero both because of his genius and because he thrives in spite of a devastating disease; his survival is in no small part due to the love of those around him.

Both films were inspiring to watch for different reasons. King’s life challenges me to shape my life as a sacrifice to God and my fellow imagebearers, while Hawking’s life challenges me to be grateful for each day I have to live—for the God Hawking denies.

On disc now. (Universal Studios)

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