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Proof (2005)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Mystery  |  7 October 2005 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 34,921 users   Metascore: 64/100
Reviews: 183 user | 139 critic | 37 from Metacritic.com

The daughter of a brilliant but mentally disturbed mathematician, recently deceased, tries to come to grips with her possible inheritance: his insanity. Complicating matters are one of her father's ex-students, who wants to search through his papers, and her estranged sister, who shows up to help settle his affairs.



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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 4 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Danny McCarthy ...
Limo Driver (as Tobiacz Daszkiewicz)
Theoretical Physicist
Leland Burnett ...
Band Vocalist
University Friend (as C Gerod Harris)


The daughter of a brilliant but mentally disturbed mathematician (recently deceased) tries to come to grips with her possible inheritance: his insanity. Complicating matters are one of her father's ex-students who wants to search through his papers and her estranged sister who shows up to help settle his affairs. Written by B.B.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Things that are intangible are difficult to prove - sanity, love and faith See more »


Drama | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexual content, language and drug references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

7 October 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dokaz  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$193,840 (USA) (16 September 2005)


$197,971 (Brazil) (11 August 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The role of Catherine was originated by Mary-Louise Parker in 2000 at the Walter Kerr Theatre in New York. Her performance won her a 2001 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play and a 2001 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play. See more »


The way Robert holds the book changes when he wants Catherine to read the proof. See more »


[first lines]
Robert: [stirring her out of a dream] Can't sleep?
Catherine: Oh, Jesus! Oh, you scared me.
See more »


Features Night of the Living Dead (1968) See more »


We Can Be Free
Written by Bruce Elliott-Smith, Frantic, Mark Lord, Lucy Wells & Steve Jueno
Performed by Caroldene
Published by Big Tiger Music (BMI)
Courtesy of Lovecat Records
By Arrangement with Ocean Park Music Group
See more »

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User Reviews

"Proof" Adds Up
2 October 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I love a movie in which every moment of it feels authentic, and "Proof" is that kind of movie. Critics have had a fairly mediocre response to the film, so I was somewhat surprised that I liked it so much. But it's easily one of the best movies I've seen this year.

I didn't see the David Auburn play on which the movie is based, and maybe many of the film's detractors have: screen adaptations of favorite plays often seem to dilute them to the detriment of the story. But if this movie is worse than its stage counterpart, it must have made one damn fine play.

The acting in this film is its major attribute, and director John Madden is wise enough to realize the talent of his ensemble and stand out of their way. He plays a bit with chronology and lets the pieces of his story click into place much like a math puzzle; I don't know whether or not this is original to the film or borrowed from the play, but either way it works well. But mostly, he lets the actors strut their stuff, and the four principals make the most of meaty roles.

Most of the acclaim has been falling, and rightly so, to Gwyneth Paltrow, who gives a full-bodied, textured and powerful performance as Catherine, who has inherited her genius at math from her father and is deathly afraid that she may have inherited his madness as well. I don't know that Paltrow has yet had a role as substantial as this one, and she flexes her acting chops in a way I have not seen her do outside of her underrated performance in "Sylvia." Hope Davis matches her scene for scene as the astringent older sister; it's refreshing to see Davis break away from the mousy, mealy persona she so frequently adopts and play this crisp, overwhelming character. The male actors have less to do overall, but the roles are perfectly cast. Jake Gyllenhaal is ripe for stardom, and this may be the year that brings it. Anthony Hopkins has been dismissed as hammy here, but I think he does an effective job of portraying mental illness, and creates heartbreaking moments that could have been ruined had they been played differently.

"Proof" feels entirely honest about the dynamics of dysfunctional families; you just know David Auburn is writing from personal experience. Like Robert Redford's "Ordinary People," if you have any exposure to similar family dynamics, you know the team that put the film together got everything just right. "Proof" also creates a parallel between mathematics and the messiness of life that makes one re-evaluate the rigidity of what always appears to be an exact science. As one must accept a level of ambiguity in life, one must also be willing to make leaps of faith in mathematics, because nothing can be 100% proved.

I highly recommend this film. It's satisfying on both an intellectual and emotional level. And any movie that can make math exciting to me gets an automatic thumbs up.

Grade: A

154 of 175 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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