I'm not a math person, and, even though there's lots of math in this film, and it's about math people, it's not really "about" math, get it? It's about academics, and the weight of genius. Those are things I get. Both broad topics in this film have previously been seen in A Beautiful Mind. This movie is not a retread of that. It is similar, but altogether different.
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 She's great at playing a tortured withdrawn person who's hopelessly isolated from the world in ultiple ways.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.