THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING revolves around a young man named Doug (David de Vos) and the relationship that grows between himself and a man named Gene (Victor Lundin). Doug is a pilot and the owner of a flight school. His school is doing well, but some delayed payments threaten to destroy his thriving business. He has been spending so much time at work that his wife Abby (Frances Black) feels neglected and spends most of her time eating junk food and watching soap operas. A few weeks for Christmas, Doug receives a telephone call informing him that his biological father wants to contact him. He agrees to meet the man whose real name is Eugene Holland. Gene was a former award-winning scientist who became a hermit after the death of his wife, Doug's birth mother. Gene has been spending the past thirty years working on a "theory of everything", a theory that unites all the mathematical and physical theories of the universe. Gene is very close to succeeding, but he needs help. Unbeknownst to Doug, Gene is dying and his request for help is his attempt to finish his masterwork before he dies. The movie attempts to show how close Gene is to finishing his work by displaying Doug using Gene's mathematical and scientific theories to economics to win money from new financial supporters for his flight school. Gene misses his deceases wife dearly and feels that if he can decode the theory of everything, he will be able to open a doorway to heaven itself where he longs to see his wife. Doug is a Christian who thinks that what Gene is missing is faith in Jesus and lovingly tells him so. In the meantime, Doug's half-sister threatens to ruin everything by having Gene committed for mental instability.
Though it's not initially apparent, THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING is a Christian movie. What that means is that a sermon (though not one in church) is contained in part of the movie and there is a "come to Jesus" moment where a character makes a declaration of faith. This isn't a bad thing, but viewers should be aware of it. Those moments are handled more believably in THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING than they usually are in Christian movies. The "sermon" isn't very preachy and the character's conversion is one that actually seems natural.
David de Vos does a good job as Doug. He also directed, wrote, and co-produced the movie. Victor Lundin gives the best performance in the movie. I enjoyed watching the scenes he was involved in the most.
I understand the confines of low budget, independent filmmaking. However, even taking that into consideration there are some obvious flaws to THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING. The story is actually fairly good, but the way the story is told isn't. There are gaps in the movie that wouldn't have been so awkward with a little more explanation. For instance, Doug was an adopted child but the word "adopted" is never really mentioned, it's hinted at but never spoken. There are other parts of the movie that don't make much sense. The biggest being the reappearance of Doug's half-sister. Towards the beginning of the movie she agrees to give up any responsibility or relationship she has with Gene. Then she suddenly reappears in a dramatic fashion towards the end of movie where her husband batters Doug's daughter in the presence of a couple of police officers. Conflict is essential for any good story, but it should be conflict that actually makes sense. In all honesty, her reappearance was unnecessary and the story would be smoother and more coherent without it.
The other major flaw of THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING was the cinematography. During most of the major conversations in the movie, some of the smaller ones, and many of the movie's key moments the camera revolves around the characters over and over and over. The technique is supposed to give the viewer a sense of omniscience, but it is overused in the movie and made me dizzy at times.
Despite these flaws, THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING is a movie that many will enjoy. It's a movie with a strong message that has no sex, foul language, and minimal violence so families will probably enjoy watching this together. It's also not as preachy as most Christian movies. With a decent script and good acting from the movie's leads, I wanted to really enjoy THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING, but I only found it ho-hum. The gaps and nonsensical moments of the storytelling grated on me and I found the oft-used circular use of the camera to be annoying. Personally, I think the movie is a good effort, but one that doesn't meet its potential.