I do recognize the life of the mathematicians. It is not important of any particular speciality - math or physics or chemistry -but a life of mind. I am among the truly gifted ones who have their daemons standing and prodding them steadily toward the higher reaches of discovery and even fames, but I did have glimpses of the pure beauty that resides resolutely above the life quotidian. The movie mentioned the imaginary unit "i" as the geek rock bands play in complete silence. I know how this non-existed number (which is the square-root of minus -1) defines the boundary of what is tangible, to what is realm of pure ideas. It may be an inside joke in the movie, but it can mean something very solemn for those of us who had previously pestered our professors with "but it does not exist in reality". It is something we can not know perceptually, yet this pure idea has made much of our electronic technology possible.
The crux of the story, I think, lies the conflicting demands of intellect and heart. In the scene where the deranged father forced the daughter to read out his "proof" in the snowing night, I can see something more than the sorrow and suffering, the futile struggle against the disintegrating body, but a sense of affirmation of human bond. Does it really matter that there is a breakthrough in math when there are such two souls linking together against the inclemency of age and disease?
This has all the elements to be an excellent drama. John Madden who has directed several excellent films before is just perfect to handle this cast and this story. Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of go or movement in Proof. Excellent acting by the whole cast and honestly nothing that should be lacking. But for this feature, there seems to be something lacking to keep the flow and rhythm on an even keal. I have a feeling the script writer of the original play should have altered or added to the story. I guess it is just a misfire of transfer from one medium to another.
I will say that I did enjoy the movie. If you've gotten this far in my short review, there was just something missing to make it a great movie. I wish it had been.