Acclaimed mathematician Robert (Anthony Hopkins) dies after a long mental illness, and daughter Catherine (Gwyneth Paltrow) is bracing herself for the funeral. A talented mathematician in her own right, Catherine left college in order to care for her father, but now she is terrified that she too, may become mentally ill, and her manipulative older sister Claire (Hope Davis), does little to reassure her. When Robert's ex-student Hal (Jake Gyllenhaal) starts going through his notebooks, a romance begins between Hal and Catherine. But the discovery of a notebook containing a complex mathematical equation, impacts on their relationship and Catherine's state of mind.
Review by Louise Keller:
'Crazy people don't sit around wondering if they're nuts,' says Anthony Hopkins' Robert, the mathematics genius. Intense and compelling, Proof is an absorbing film that shows the intricacies of the human mind are as complex as a mathematical equation. Based on David Auburn's Pulitzer-winning play, it's a moody film contemplating reason, logic and trust. And Gwyneth Paltrow, directed by John Madden, who directed her Oscar winning performance in Shakespeare in Love, is the epitome of vulnerability as the protagonist Catherine, struggling to come to terms with loss. She has lost her beloved father, precious time and now she is afraid of losing her mind.
Not to be confused with Jocelyn Moorhouse's 1991 film of the same name in which Hugo Weaving plays a blind man who takes photos for proof, Madden's Proof focuses on the notion that if proof cannot be ascertained, the next best option is to disprove the opposite. The relationships are all intimate. In flashback, weaving in and out of the present, we get a sense of Catherine's closeness to her father, and Hopkins is terrific. Catherine's refuge lies in the comfort of the past, but the past is also tense with pain, and pain demands denial.
Paltrow and Jake Gyllenhaal are good together and tight close-ups draw us into their newly found intimate world. With its satisfying crescendo, the film's emotional curve sweeps over us slowly, leaving us with our own thoughts, equations and solutions.
Email this article
CAST: Gwyneth Paltrow, Anthony Hopkins, Jake Gyllanhaal, Hope Davis
PRODUCER: John Hart, Robert Kessell, Alison Owen, Jeff Sharp
DIRECTOR: John Madden
SCRIPT: David Auburn
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Alwin H. Kuchler
EDITOR: Mick Audsley
MUSIC: Stephen Warbeck
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Alice Normington
RUNNING TIME: 99 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: BVI
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 16, 2006
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: BVHE
VIDEO RELEASE: December 13, 2006