Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Proof: the Movie

So I saw Proof with my sister Motza"sh. My sister liked it more than I did. Atop the fact that the movie was only ok, I (like The New Yorker) felt that they kept on talking around the math. A more thorough explanation of the central theme of this movie than, "this is the most important proof in the last 50 years." might have felt more true to life. Excessive jargon is bad, but none at all indicates that the actors on stage are guarded-- they know you are listening and, in deference to your ineptitude, don't want to bore you with details. But you did decide to spend your Saturday evening at movie called, "Proof," you can't hate math that much and I, for one, like hearing words I don't understand. A good movie allows all involved, both actors and audience, to feel comfortable. Maybe I know too many Mathies, but no one refers to a Theoretical Physicist as a Theoretical Physicist; it just sounds wooden.

That being said, the lack of math detail is made up by the incredible amount of HP subtlety. The movie was filmed in HP, Northwestern and England-- with the house being in England (so I gather). The penultimate scene of the movie has Paltrow opening up a drawer in their house revealing, amongst other things, a matchbook (or something like it) from the Medici. Someone had to cart that thing thousands of miles just to give the illusion to people who know HP that the house is really located there. Hats off.

2 comments:

NoFreeLunch said...

I haven't seen it but I read the play. I was disappointed. For one thing, the line about economists milking mathematical discoveries for Nobels was offensive. And if there had to be a trite scene with the theme "girls can do math too," why was Sophie Germain mentioned but not Emmy Noether?

José said...

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, but maybe only because it was refreshingly therapeutic to see my own personal shtuss thrown up on the screen to cope with.

I fel tthe movie did an incredible job of portraying the experience of (if I may be so bold) brilliance that is suspected of insanity. It's a terrifying place to be.