The Man Who Knew Infinity

Critics 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.



Reviews Counted: 126

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Average Rating: 3.7/5

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Movie Info

Written and directed by Matthew Brown, The Man Who Knew Infinity is the true story of friendship that forever changed mathematics. In 1913, Srinivasa Ramanujan (Dev Patel), a self-taught Indian mathematics genius, traveled to Trinity College, Cambridge, where over the course of five years, forged a bond with his mentor, the brilliant and eccentric professor, G.H. Hardy (Jeremy Irons), and fought against prejudice to reveal his mathematic genius to the world. The film also stars Devika Bhise, Stephen Fry and Toby Jones. This is Ramanujan's story as seen through Hardy's eyes.

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Dev Patel
as Srinivasa Ramanujan
Jeremy Irons
as G.H. Hardy
Stephen Fry
as Sir Francis Spring
Toby Jones
as Littlewood
Jeremy Northam
as Bertrand Russell
Kevin McNally
as Major McMahon
Alexander Cooper
as Stretcher Bearer
Shazad Latif
as Chandra Mahalanobis
Roman Green
as Wounded Soldier
Nicholas Agnew
as Andrew Hartley
Eleanor Inglis
as Ward Sister
Roger Narayan
as Mr. Iyengar/The Scribe
Elaine Caulfield
as Ward Sister
Arthur Wilde
as Patient
Devlin Lloyd
as Student/Cadet
Pat Carney
as Fellow of the Royal Society
Shenagh Govan
as Postmistress
James Francis Andrews
as Passer-By/Soldier
Alex Bartram
as Hospital Doctor
Pip Barclay
as Student
Jon Lawes
as Wounded Soldier
Jack Philips
as Student Bully/Soldier
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News & Interviews for The Man Who Knew Infinity

Critic Reviews for The Man Who Knew Infinity

All Critics (126) | Top Critics (31)

  • 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.

    May 20, 2016 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • [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.

    May 12, 2016 | Rating: 3.5/5
  • 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.

    May 12, 2016 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • It's predictable - throughout the film, I kept thinking that I'd seen it before - and a bit sentimental, yet thoroughly pleasant.

    May 12, 2016 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • The Man Who Knew Infinity stands on its own merit, thanks in great measure to Patel and Irons, who give us two engaging characters.

    May 6, 2016 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • It touches on serious - and ridiculously complex - ideas but always cuts them down to manageable, middle-brow morsels.

    May 6, 2016 | Full Review…

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.

Antonius Block
Antonius Block

Super Reviewer

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.

Christian C
Christian C

Super Reviewer

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.

Mark Hobin
Mark Hobin

Super Reviewer

A grim tale of how Trinity College at Cambridge constrained a handsome young Indian mathematical genius, to the point where he starved almost to death and contracted TB, and lost contact with his wife. The film mostly blames R's old mother back in India for these things - what a cop out. Trinity frustrated him, delaying the publication of his theories while they tried to prove them wrong, which took them a long, long time and eventually did not succeed. Not to say it made them racist, because there was plenty of that before he ever arrived. But after all of his suffering, it turned out ok in the end supposedly, because he was made a Fellow of Trinity and the Royal Society. Basically, they did that after it was blindingly obvious that they couldn't keep rejecting him any more and that they should claim association with his work. Today, according to the postscript, his theories are being used to understand black holes in space. If the British establishment had treated him with humanity, instead of carrying on like he should be grateful just to be in their presence, then the world would have had the benefit of his ideas a long time ago, and many more besides were he not made so desperately unhappy and ill. The final scene is the dons congratulating themselves. One star for the brilliance of Ramanujan and his lovely wife. The 4 missing stars represent the rest.

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Super Reviewer

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