Wednesday, April 12, 2006


ProofGwyneth Paltrow Directed by John Madden
Reviewed by Byron Merritt

Unfortunate Thumbs Down

An Unfortunate Thumbs Down Film Review Rating

Proving or disproving something is the goal of many mathematicians. But PROOF takes that equation into an entirely different dynamic. Gwyneth Paltrow (SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, 1998) as Catherine gives the best performance of all in this ensemble cast. She’s the daughter of a genius (Sir Anthony Hopkins, SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, 1991) who’d lost his mind and recently died. But his brilliance was legendary. His equations changed mathematical history. And when Catherine appears to be just as brilliant as her father, her fears drive her to extremes. She feels she may be losing her mind, too, so she hides her intellect behind a mask of despair, longing for her lost father. Behind this facade we see her own battle with depression and her worries that she may be too much like her father. Will she end up just as mad as he? This is the question that eats at Catherine throughout the story.

Jake Gyllenhaal (BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, 2005) plays Hal, the love interest, as well as a math student trying to come up with his own proof (i.e. mathematical breakthrough). He’s pouring over Catherine’s father’s final papers, trying to determine if there was anything of value left in his fractured mind just before his death. And when Catherine gives him a key to the desk, Jake uncovers what could be a discovery of monumental importance. But who wrote it? The father ...or the daughter?

Hope Davis (THE MATADOR, 2005) stars as Claire, Catherine’s distant sister who returns to town to help bury their father and to tick Catherine off of her "to-do list." She was the other shining star in the film, acting as a neurotically classic type-A personality.

Although PROOF held my interest, it’s impact on me was negligible. There was no "hallelujah" moment where everything fit together or where an actor or actress did something extraordinary. They just ...were.

The pacing of the film was pretty laid back, too. Director John Madden seemed in no particular hurry to get a resolution to the audience, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But for a "family dynamic" film, there could’ve (should’ve) been something more gripping that held my interest.
I will say that the picture was acted and shot well. Just not "very" well. Anthony Hopkins was just Anthony Hopkins, for instance.

Psychology students might eat this story up, but for the general population it may fall pretty flat.

Click here for the Proof movie trailer!

Golden Globe Nominated Film: Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture -- Drama


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