The Theory Of Everything
At the University of Cambridge, astrophysics student Stephen Hawking begins a romantic relationship with literature student Jane Wilde. Although Stephen excels at mathematics and physics, his friends and professors are concerned over his lack of a thesis topic. After Stephen and his professor Dennis Sciama attend a lecture on black holes, Stephen speculates that black holes may have been part of the creation of the universe, and decides to write his thesis on them.
While pursuing his research, Stephen’s muscles begin to fail, eventually causing him to fall and hit his head. He learns he has motor neurone disease, which will eventually leave him unable to move, swallow, or even breathe. The doctor tells him nothing can be done and he has approximately two years to live. When Stephen asks what will happen to his brain, the doctor tells him that the brain will not be affected, so his thoughts and intelligence will remain intact, but eventually he will be unable to communicate them.
As Stephen becomes reclusive, focusing on his work, Jane confesses she loves him. She tells Stephen’s father she intends to stay with Stephen even as his condition worsens. They marry and have their first son Robert.
Stephen presents his thesis to the examination board, arguing that a black hole created the universe in a Big Bang, that it will emit heat, and that it will end in a Big Crunch. While celebrating with Jane and his friends, Stephen realises he cannot walk, and begins using a wheelchair.
After the Hawkings have their daughter Lucy, Stephen develops a theory about the visibility of black holes, and becomes a world-renowned physicist. Jane, focusing on the children and on Stephen’s health and increasing fame, is unable to work on her own thesis and becomes frustrated. Stephen tells her he will understand if she needs help. She joins the church choir, where she meets widower Jonathan and they become close friends. She employs him as a piano teacher for her son and Jonathan befriends the entire family, helping Stephen with his illness, supporting Jane, and playing with the children.
When Jane gives birth to another son, Timothy, Stephen’s mother asks Jane if the baby is Jonathan’s, which she denies. Jane sees that Jonathan overheard the conversation, and is appalled, but when they are alone, they admit their feelings for one another. Jonathan stays away from the family, but Stephen visits him, saying that Jane needs him.