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The Sad Reason A Disabled Boy Couldn't Go See The Theory Of Everything

As a parent, I’ll tell you that on a daily basis, I try to move mountains for my children. There’s nothing I wouldn’t attempt if it meant they might thrive, feel success and achieve happiness in this often-challenging world. So this story breaks my heart, as a UK mom says she tried to take her wheelchair-bound 12-year-old to see The Theory of Everything, yet couldn’t… for the worst possible reason.

On Disabled Access Day, no less, Kelly Jones tried to bring her son, Joe, to a screening of the Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything. According to the UK Mirror, the boy is a budding astronomer and possible science teacher who adores Hawking, But when Jones called the Odeon theater in her area, she was told that all nine screenings for that day were unable to accommodate wheelchairs, and didn’t have handicap ramp access. Young Joe said:

Stephen Hawking is one of my top three heroes. I thought it was going to be a very special day."

While Kelly Jones told the newspaper:

He said to me the film was supposed to inspire people but how can somebody in a ­wheelchair be inspired if they can’t see it? I cried when he said that"

I’m weeping, myself! How can the Odeon chain of theaters let this happen? A representative from the chain explained to the Mirror that the cinema was "a listed building" that was "unable to adapt two screens for wheelchair access." They said that James Marsh’s Oscar-nominated film would be back on a handicap-accessible screen by Friday, and tried to compensate for the family’s loss with free tickets. Too little, too late if you ask me.

The Theory of Everything focuses on the love story between Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne, Oscar nominated) and his longtime spouse, Jane Wilde Hawking (Felicity Jones, also Oscar nominated). It not only explains how the scientist’s motor-neurological debilitations challenged their relationship, it goes on to speak to how they worked to overcome them together.

Hawking, obviously, far outlived the dire diagnosis he was handed at a young age, and is widely considered one of the most intelligent men on the planet. How would he react to this story of a young, wheelchair-bound boy being kept out of a screening of his life story? How would Redmayne, Jones or Marsh react? We can only hope that 12-year-old Joe persevered and eventually found a theater showing The Theory of Everything, because in light of this unusual situation, I think he’d appreciate Hawking’s message of never giving up all the more.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.