As human beings, we all have a tendency at some point to behave as if no one's problems are worse than our own. We are immune to our surroundings and become engrossed in a self-induced "pity party of one". Much to my dismay, I have been one of those people more often than I would like to admit and this past week was particularly challenging.
As part of getting out of my "funk", like I have done so many times before, I went to the movies. After watching The Theory of Everything, my life will never be the same. After watching what Stephen and Jane Hawking have had to endure just to get from one day to the next...never again will I complain or even lament about life because nothing can be as difficult as what they have had to endure.
Over the summer, we watched as people all over the world participated in the "ice-bucket challenge" in order to raise awareness for ALS. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. In short, it effects ones ability to control your muscles by sending a message from you brain. The muscles atrophy and the ability to continue to be "able bodied" person changes forever.
Having said all that, Stephen Hawking was never ordinary. After all, he defied the odds by living well past his two-year diagnosis of ALS, married...twice, had kids, grandkids and obtained a doctorate as a theoretical physicist/cosmologist. He has a wicked sense of humor and a spirit that could never be defeated. How do you think he was able to pull it all off? One word...Jane.
Jane met Stephen Hawking while they were both college students, young and had their whole life ahead of them. When Stephen received his diagnosis of ALS, it was Jane's love, devotion and support that assisted him getting through the majority of his 72 years.
The Theory of Everything shares the story of Stephen Hawking as seen from Jane's point of view and adapted from her book "Music to Move the Stars". Eddie Redmayne's transformation into Stephen is astonishing to watch. His performance was no easy feat and took hours of research and coaching with a team of experts to realistically convey the physical, emotional effects ALS can have on an individual with the disease. Felecity Jones superbly conveys the emotional ramifications that a caretaker endures for a loved one with conviction and respect. I suspect both of them will be mentioned when awards season rolls around as they are truly chewing up the scenery!
This film is very touching, informative and inspiring...especially for someone who has been a caretaker voluntarily or not by choice for a loved one who is suffering.
The Theory of Everything opens in theaters on November 7th and is distributed by Universal Pictures