I DIDN’T catch the movie “The Theory of Everything” on the big screen last year. I caught it just last night, on our small screen. The movie is just so feel good.

It is based on the book “Travelling to Infinity” by Jane Hawking, first wife of genius Stephen Hawking, and narrates of her life with him, their divorce, and a later reconciliation. Many a review treats of the accuracy of the movie as against the book. Since I haven’t read the book, only of it, I can write only about the movie.

The first part of the movie has us peeping in on how Hawking and Jane Wilde meet, and how their relationship begins. This relationship is tested when Hawking is diagnosed with motor neuron disease. He is inclined to stop the relationship, sending Jane away when she seeks him out after hearing of his illness. It is Jane who sticks up for them, with Hawking following her lead, it seems. They get married. They have three children.

Their married life is complicated by the progression of Hawking’s disease, and Jane has to cope with being his caregiver and also being mother to their children. It is further complicated by the entrance of Jonathan into the story. He is Jane’s choir master and father surrogate to her children. Hawking, Jonathan, and Jane are friends all around -- it’s just that the latter two fall in love, too. Did I say complicated? Also very Arthur, Gwen, and Lance.

For the rest of the movie plot, you’ll just have to buy a DVD and watch. But the thing to watch is actually not the story. The thing to watch is the performance of lead actor Eddie Redmayne, who plays Hawking. It is brilliant, nuanced, and riveting.

Of special note is this: onstage, an actor has chronological control of the development of his character. In Act One, he’s well. In Act Two, his speech becomes first slightly unclear, then slightly slurred, then more slurred, then slurred. In Act Three, he can’t speak, but must deliver with just his eyes… When shooting a movie, an actor is not filming in the chronological order of the script. So an actor presenting the development of a character from normal, to varying degrees of not normal, to mute, has to be conscious of that development even when he is not filming in the order of the story he is a part of. Not easy at all.

Which is why you must watch the movie and see why, in February of this year, Redmayne bags an Oscar for his Hawking.