The Man Who Knew Infinity (2016)
Critic Consensus: The Man Who Knew Infinity might be a tad too conventional to truly do its subject justice, but Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons elevate the end result beyond mere biopic formula.
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as Srinivasa Ramanujan
as G.H. Hardy
as Sir Francis Spring
as Bertrand Russell
as Major McMahon
as Stretcher Bearer
as Chandra Mahalanobis
as Wounded Soldier
as Andrew Hartley
as Ward Sister
as Mr. Iyengar/The Scribe
as Ward Sister
as Fellow of the Royal Society
as Hospital Doctor
as Wounded Soldier
as Student Bully/Soldier
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Critic Reviews for The Man Who Knew Infinity
When one of the most enlightening moments of a film comes during the postscript (black holes!), you know there's a problem - one that has nothing to do with math.
[It] takes an incredible true story - about an impoverished Indian man whose Jedi math skills helped him triumph over race, class and bad food in early 20th century England - and telescopes it into a well-made yet predictable tale of inspiration.
The multiplexes are full of films that promise little more than a forgettable good time. "The Man Who Knew Infinity" is just as entertaining, but far more substantial.
It's predictable - throughout the film, I kept thinking that I'd seen it before - and a bit sentimental, yet thoroughly pleasant.
The Man Who Knew Infinity stands on its own merit, thanks in great measure to Patel and Irons, who give us two engaging characters.
Audience Reviews for The Man Who Knew Infinity
A moving account of Srinivasa Ramanujan, the genius mathematician who rose out of poverty in India to solve problems believed to be unsolvable, and whose profound insights have altered math all the way up to the present day. The cast is very strong, led by Dev Patel in the role of Ramanujan, and including Jeremy Irons as his mentor G. H. Hardy and Devika Bhise as the wife he leaves behind in India to study at Trinity College in Cambridge. Director Matt Brown captures some great shots in both Madras and Cambridge, and effectively transformed the biography of Ramanujan into a screenplay which is nuanced and much more than math. It is fascinating to see the mentor obviously surpassed by the student (and knowing it), but trying to temper creative genius with the need to grind out proofs, but the movie also includes the dynamics of conservative and liberal politics at the time leading up to WWI, love and sacrifice, and atheism and faith. It also has the ugly racism Ramanujan encountered, as well as shows how hard it was for him to adapt to being in England. There is a human element here, as well as a spiritual element. "There are patterns in everything. The color in light, the reflections in water... in math, these patterns reveal themselves in the most incredible form. It's quite beautiful," he says. Another time, after Hardy has taken a taxi with the number 1729 on it and mentioned that the number is rather dull, Ramanujan comments "No, it is a very interesting number; it is the smallest number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two different ways", which is a true anecdote. It's hard to fathom those singular few, who out of billions of people who have been born have such extraordinary gifts. It's not hyperbole to put Ramanujan in the same class as Mozart and Newton, and it's heartbreaking that he died at the age 32. How fantastic is it that this movie honors him, and is so well made. Don't believe the negative reactions ("boring", "slow", "routine", etc), but the film is quiet and intelligent - which I found not only understandable but appropriate given the subject matter (hey it's not Iron Man folks). If that's not your thing, though, you should probably look elsewhere.
Infinitely disappointing. How can such a fine cast give such an uninspiring performance? Turns out all it takes is a slow and unmoored script. What should have been a five-star film shot on location seems at times like a made-for-TV movie. "The Man Who Knew Infinity" is a nice picture to look at, but it becomes tedious and confusing almost as soon as it starts. Unless you're a mathematician who already knows the story and who can appreciate the high drama of reading proofs on the blackboard, I'd skip it.
Two talents elevate this script. Jeremy Irons and Dev Patel play off one another. To say that this is Dev Patel's greatest performance since Slumdog Millionaire sounds a bit like damning with faint praise. After all the actor has struggled since that breakthrough in films like The Last Airbender and Chappie. Patel gives the part a sweet determination that honors the man's accomplishments while giving us an appreciation for all the sacrifices he had to make. The Man Who Knew Infinity isn't a great movie. Yet let's consider the fact that it exists to honor the contributions of an unsung hero. That alone makes the biography worthwhile. fastfilmreviews.com
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