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.
Catherine is a woman in her late twenties who is strongly devoted to her father, Robert, a brilliant and well-known mathematician whose grip on reality is beginning to slip away. As Robert descends into madness, Catherine begins to wonder if she may have inherited her father's mental illness along with his mathematical genius. When Robert's work reveals a mathematical proof of potentially historic proportions, it sets off shock waves in more ways than one.Written by
David Auburn's play "Proof" premiered at the Manhattan Theater Club, in New York City, in May 2000. On October 24, 2000, it moved to the Walter Kerr Theater, where it ran for nine hundred seventeen performances. "Proof" won the 2001 Tony Award for the Best Play, and the Pulitzer Prize in Drama the same year. See more »
The way Robert holds the book changes when he wants Catherine to read the proof. See more »
[stirring her out of a dream]
Oh, Jesus! Oh, you scared me.
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Seeing this movie makes one realize how truly dumb and unchallenging most Hollywood movies, aimed at young teenage boys, are. The script was brilliant, and all four actors do a fine job of bringing the story to life. I too saw Mary Louise Parker in the stage version, and though I slightly preferred her to Gwynneth, the latter nonetheless was fine as the gifted and disturbed Catherine. I thought Jake Gyllenhaal was very good in his role, but too good-looking and hunky to play a geeky mathematician. Compared to the play, his relationship with Catherine developed a little too quickly in the movie, considering what a loner Catherine had been up to this time. Hope Davis was great as the more "normal," but controlling sister Claire, her second best performance ever, after the under-appreciated one she gave in "American Splendor" (be sure to rent THAT movie if you haven't seen it), and she manages to be more sympathetic than the actress who played her in the stage version. Hopkins as the brilliant, mentally ill mathematician-father was fine, though not particularly special in the role.
I only have two quibbles. One, there was not enough mathematics in the movie OR the play. Everyone has studied advanced math, so why not challenge the audience a little more and let us in on what the proof is actually about. It is kind of like watching a movie about a musician and not letting the audience hear any of the music! Two, it is not believable that in a crucial scene towards the end of the movie, that neither Catherine and especially the more materialistic Claire would not care what ultimately happens to the proof, especially when being told of its possible value.
Aside from these flaws, if you are looking for intelligent fare and a break from mindless action films and the mostly unfunny comedies of the past summer, you owe it to yourself to see this film. The theater I saw it in was almost empty, so I fear it is not doing too well. Remember that every ticket you buy is a vote for more of that kind of film being made. Let's hear it for more stimulating and mature films like this one!
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