Wednesday 15 February 2006 at 6:58 pm | In Articles | 3 Comments

For a mathematician’s (Marcus du Sautoy) view of the recently released film Proof have a look at Another view. The film was not given a good review by the critics that I have read.


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  1. I was really looking forward to the film but I haven’t heard a single positive review since it was released…

    Comment by Craig — Thursday 16 February 2006 9:58 pm #

  2. In response to the linked article, I find it diffucult to ascertain whether the author means “each of these myths is promulgated by the movie” (which is clearly the case for myth 2); or “the movie attempts to dispel these myths” (which is likely the case for myth 5). So I’ll respond in the way I’ve interpreted the author.

    With respect to myth 1: the movie is not predicated on this basis. In fact only one of the mathematicians (barely) in the movie (Hopkins) is mad; his daughter (Paltrow) just *might* be going mad. But everyone else (the graduate students Paltrow is around, her math profs, Gyllenhall’s character) do not even approach mad. Hopkins is clearly an anomaly. Now if you had said the movie makes all brilliant mathematicians look insane….

    W.r.t myth 5: The movie can be interpreted as trying to dispel the myth that good math is done only by men. However, I didn’t get that impression while watching the movie. Rather, I saw Paltrow’s character as primarily trying to reconcile her love for her father with his instability, with her possible ensuing instability, and her (probably correct) proof. She thinks it was (at least partly) because of her father’s insight that he went insane. So I got the impression that part of her doesn’t want her proof to be correct, because then her brilliance would have approached or outshined her father’s, and hence provide a basis for her own possible insanity.

    I hope that makes some sense.

    Comment by denis — Thursday 2 March 2006 3:21 pm #

  3. I found the film was done well and I really enjoyed it.

    Gweneth plays her role exceptionally well, in fact I must say I was suprised by her performance, not previously being a fan of hers.

    The other actors all did fine jobs also.

    As for the linked article with regard to the ‘myths’…i.e. Mad, young, nerdy, boozy & coke-driven and male… mathematicians.

    I agree. Most of the mathematicians that I know don’t fit that bill.

    But it’s a movie. And it has to be interesting otherwise people won’t watch it.

    Look at CSI and all those crime show, they must have heaps of fun with all the new recruits who sign up after being inspired by a cool TV program (I’ve heard stories).

    Once again, good movie.


    Comment by Vincenze — Thursday 16 March 2006 3:13 am #

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