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.
A psychological study of operations desert shield and desert storm during the gulf war; through the eyes of a U.S marine sniper who struggles to cope with the possibility his girlfriend may be cheating on him back home.
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
David Auburn's play "Proof" premiered at the Manhattan Theater Club, in New York, in May 2000. On October 24, 2000, it moved to the Walter Kerr Theater, where it ran for 917 performances. "Proof" won the 2001 Tony Award for the Best Play, and the Pulitzer Prize in Drama the same year. See more »
Items on the floor change position after Catherine empties the backpack. See more »
[stirring her out of a dream]
Oh, Jesus! Oh, you scared me.
See more »
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
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.
160 of 184 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?