We don't care about the proof, the film's main source of conflict; director John Madden knows few in the audience are smart enough to care about theoretical math and physics. So what's left? Proof has to compel us with the interpersonal drama Catherine's relationship with her dead father and her sister and boyfriend who grow to doubt her sanity. But from very early on, we know there's no reason to doubt Catherine, so we're left waiting for the film to catch up to the audience, and thus the film loses its reason to compel us to care about these characters. Gwyneth Paltrow, who conjures her Sylvia character in her depressive moments, occasionally gives us reason to pay attention to Catherine's struggles, but especially when she raises her voice, Catherine, in Paltrow's hands, comes off as annoyingly disinterested and unengaged with manic bouts of petulance. It's hard to like Paltrow, and it's even harder to be interested in Catherine.
Overall, I found Proof to be structurally flawed, and the film's star certainly didn't shine.
Gwyneth Paltrow is spectacular in her gut-wrenching, emotional roller coaster of a role. The assembled supporting cast is impressive in name; however, Sir Anthony Hopkins is solid, but not great in the relatively small, but crucial role as Paltrow's once genius, then insane, now dead father. His influence on her life is beyond question and how she deals is the heart of the story. Jake Gyllenhaal, although a fine actor, is totally miscast as Hopkins' former student who tries to secure the legacy. Hope Davis is perfect as the irritating sister of Paltrow who has "been working 14 hour days" for 5 years while Paltrow cared for dear old nutty dad.
I really liked this. Some of the specifics went over my head, but one can know nothing about math and still get this movie and be entertained or moved by it. This is a lot better than I expected, and I liked it more than I thought I would. This is a small-character dirven piece (based on a four character play) that's mostly light on plot. but I love this kind of stuff. The material and the acting are what really carry things. They basically have to. There's nothing really cinematic going on ehre, but that's okay. It's been slightly expanded, and there are a few cinematic type flousihes here and there, but this is all about the characters.
The acting is brilliant. Aside from The Royal Tenenbaums, I really didn't have much to say about Paltrow. I knew she was a good actress, but this confirms that she's really great. She's great at playing a tortured withdrawn person who's hopelessly isolated from the world in ultiple ways. I didn't really like the character played by Hope Davis, but she's also great. All of the perforers are. Given that this is about kooky academics, it reminded me of that other siilart film which featured Gyllenhaal's doppleganger Tobey Maguire (Wonder Boys). He's getting really good at these types of roles. Anthony Hopkins has played crazy before, but not like this.
Give this one a chance. It's not something I would watch all the time, but I wouldn't mind seeing it every once in a while.
A devoted daughter (Gwyneth Paltrow) comes to terms with the death of her father (Anthony Hopkins), a brilliant mathematician whose genius was crippled by mental instability. Along the way, she's forced to face her own dark fears. But she has help from one of her father's former students (Jake Gyllenhaal), who searches through the dead man's notebooks in hopes of discovering the key to his brilliance. .
Pretty good movie. Don't think it is for a lot of people though. I enjoyed it. Liked the story of the bond between the daughter and father. It's a hard movie to follow. If your not paying close attention you will be lost. Anthony Hopkins gives another great performance. But there isn't a role this man can't fulfill. Really surprised by Gwyneth Paltrow. Her character was kinda dark, and I thought she pulled it off amazingly. It's a very intense movie. She questions her sanity because she has inherited so much of who her father is, that she is scared that his illness is something else she will inherit, if not already. The movie keeps you wondering the same thing til the end. It wasn't a "must see" film for me. But my curiosity got the best of me. It is hard for me to pass up any movie, not judge it til I have seen it for myself. So I am glad I didn't pass this one up.
The movie is a kind of slow drama that is heart wrenching. The main character is the daughter of a brilliant mathematician. He went crazy at about her age. For the last five years she's been taking care of him when no one else will, giving up her dreams to do it. A week before the movie starts, he died. He has over a hundred notebooks that he wrote basically nonsense in during the last five years. His grad student is going through them. The main character's mothering sister is coming out for the funeral. The main character, Catherine, has to deal with the loss of her father, the possibility she too will go crazy, and with the people in the house she's lived in for most of her life. She's brilliant, also. Will she, too, go crazy? Is she crazy now?