Proof (2004)

Dir. John Madden
Starring: Gwyneth Paltrow, Hope Davis, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anthony Hopkins, etc.

I think Grace saw this and thought this was OK. I know Mitchell is a fan of Paltrow, and he would like this. I think most idiots will find this fairly engaging, but I’d guess most people wouldn’t get into this that much.

Catherine (Paltrow) takes care of her father (Hopkins), a mathematical genius who has lost his mind. When her father dies, Claire (Davis), Catherine’s sister returns home to help with the funeral and help her sister, who may also have the same mental instability.
At the same time, a former student, Hobbs (Gyllenhaal), is searching through his mentor’s last writings, looking for something brilliant. In the process, he and Catherine get closer and eventually they find something that could be a revolutionary proof.

While watching the film, the thought that Paltrow could be one of our best actors came to mind, not necessarily because of this performance. It’s pretty standard stuff for her, which is generally very solid. Perhaps, one of the best leading movie actors is a better word. She’s a good actor, but there are other attributes that make her appealing. I’m thinking of her shyness—which turns the girl-next-door looks into something really sexy. With the right roles, she could be this generation’s finest actor.

But back to the film. I have to say that I only understood the surface of the story—not the deeper issues that the film tried to get at. The film seems to be about Catherine—and the decisions she must make: her talent that may bring with it madness; her accomplishment that may humiliate and devastate her father; her growing love for a man who may only be using her; submitting to a sister whose love may actually destroy her.

What does the proof have to do with these themes? The film seems to suggest at the end that there is no way to get definite answers to these issues—critical to the character—but you just have to work them out—or “talk them out”—as Catherine and Hal do at the end. If that’s true, I might give the film a higher score, but this aspect of the film weren’t clear to me while watching it.

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