- Deleted scenes with optional commentary
- From Stage to Screen: The Making of Proof
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From the acclaimed director of SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, PROOF stars Oscar(R) winners Gwyneth Paltrow (Best Actress, SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, 1998) and Anthony Hopkins (Best Actor, SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, 1991), along with Jake Gyllenhaal (JARHEAD, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN) and Hope Davis (ABOUT SCHMIDT). It's a powerful story of a young woman haunted by her father's past and the shadow of her own future. Catherine (Paltrow) has devoted years to caring for her brilliant but mentally unstable father, Robert (Hopkins), a mathematical genius. But when his genius slips away, he leaves behind a mystery that affects her life ... and her own sanity. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play.
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It's about a brilliant mathematician, and the main character (his daughter), that both work on, well, mathematics. But besides math, the story is about a girl who takes care of her father who has a degenerative disease. A close bond between father and daughter, the story draws out a dramatic plot between the daughter and life itself.
And like the title, the movie is about a particular proof. However, it doesn't tell you what the proof is about. It's simply a story about a girl, somewhat of math, and her family and friends.
That is: As a former math major, I find this movie fascinating. Someone involved clearly knew a lot about math, because the descriptions of the struggles involved in striving to the highest levels of mathematics, as well as the nature of searching a difficult proof, strike me as knowing and insightful. Much as I recommend Searching for Bobby Fischer for its insights into the chess world, I recommend this movie for, among many other strengths, its insight into higher math.
Gweyneth Paltrow as Catherine gave a very emotionally draining performance in the movie. She managed to display the fears, hatred, disappointment etc. in Catherine's journey of love, trust and betrayal. However, there is a bit too much crying in the movie that actually taxed quite a bit of the character in terms performance. Anthony Hopkins as the father is just flawless. The way he portrays the father who thinks he still possesses a brilliant but in fact "out-of-order" mind is just right to the point. Delicate as a piece of well crafted china. The casting does make it right for him. Hope Davis as Claire is as annoying as ever - the control freak sister who thought of redeeming herself through the taking over of matters from her abandoned sister, after years of avoiding caring duty of her father. Nonetheless, her affection for her sister does make up a lot to her distant approach in the past. Jake Gyllanehall as Hal could be regarded as the weaker character in the movie. Probably after Brokeback Mountain, people will expect a lot from him. Not that he is bad, but the character itself isn't as multi-layered as the other three, which in a way put him on a disadvantaged ground right from the beginning.
In all, this is a very faithful adaptation of the play and if you like the play, you will like this movie. One thing we could appreciate at least is that the director managed to turn a play that only happens in the set of a single house into a more geographically spread experience, which breathes a sense of real life into the play itself. Also scenes written to bridge different time frames and background stories were very well done as they all managed to tie into the original plot of the play. It is definitely a movie that had made good full use of the play. It's a pity that this movie was overlooked during the took over of Miramax by Disney, otherwise it would have a better standing in this year's award season.
so often a movie appears with real substance that can touch us differently then the abusive fair that Hollywood constantly
produces. This movie is 'proof' that sanity and pure messages still exist, although hard to find these days. The message
is that we as humans can strive for the best, under difficult circumstances, and that good will always prevail over all
else that passes for it.
It is hard to say exactly what 'genre" this play fits as it equal parts thriller, mystery and exploration of the human spirit.
On the surface, the film focuses on a formerly briliant mathematical genius (played by Anthony Hopkins) who went from flashes of brilliance in his early 20s to utter insanity as he got older (with brief remissions). His daughter seems to show promise as well but she fears that the same mental instablility which plagues her father will someday strike her as well. She is a sad, often bitter, person.
Gyneth Paltrow is so exceptional in the role of the daughter, Catherine, a woman who is complex, difficult and anxious, that it is hard to imagine anyone else doing justice to the role. After her father's death, she is left to pick up the pieces with the help of a math student who is researching Catherine's father, in both his glory and illness.
In addition to hundreds of illegible journals left behind by her father, one stands out, possibly leading to a breakthrough moment in mathmatical history. It is, in short a great proof...but who wrote it? Did the genius father in one of his rare moments of remission? Or did his talented (but unacclaimed) daughter do so?
Needless to say, this raises issues of trust as well as how you prove something which is very hard to prove. Catherine has been a recluse for years, caring for her ailing father. She disappeared from academia and her reputation was never established. Contrast that with the history of her father and it his hard to decide who was most likely to be in a state of mind to come up with an elegant, groundbreaking proof.
As doubt rears its head, Catherine seems to be suspected by everyone around her, from her boyfriend to her sister. She nearly cracks completely under the pain and pressure and the film doesn't lead to a neat, pat resolution.
The word "Proof" revolves on so many levels in this lovely movie, hinting that some things are ultimately unproveable and must be taken on a certain degree of faith. Catherine nearly loses her strength, her spirit and her confidence in the process but she is stronger than she thinks, although her sister does her best to sabotage her confidence and whatever shreds of self-esteem she has left.
This is a deep, rich movie that makes one think about how we commit to people and ideas, how we prove that our accomplishments are our own (when all evidence seems to point to the contrary) and but how it is always a the leap of faith to trust others. In that regard, these is no ultimate proof.