Oct 30, 2009

[Movies] Proof (2005)

ProofThere are those movies that you promise yourself to one day see but for some reason you never quite get around to it. Even if it starts showing on cable TV or you happen to have a copy of the DVD, it just seems to linger there and you still don't quite get around to seeing it.

I hate it when that happens - seriously. Worse, it seems to happen most for movies that I'm bound to like but remain sort of uncertain and so I keep delaying the decision to go see it. In the meantime I pass the time with all these more useless movies that just annoy the heck out of me and make me lose more faith in the dwindling creative potential of Hollywood.

But then that day eventually comes when you break the dead lock and finally find the time to go see the darn movie that's been evading your attentions for so long. You may end up disappointed given the length of time that has passed may have inevitably hyped it up too much. From personal experience, I find that I end up really liking the movie since it becomes somehow more fitting to see the movie precisely when I do, for whatever reasons there may be as related to my life at the time.

This was one of those movies for me.

Proof is an interesting drama based on a Pulitzer Prize winning play of the same name. The center of the story is Catherine (Gwyneth Paltrow), the daughter of a recently deceased mathematician Robert (Anthony Hopkins) who has to deal with the loss of her father and the very real possibility that she may have inherited the same mental illness he did. Two people feature in her life at this time - one is her sister Claire (Hope Davis), who has come home for the funeral and to help settle their father's affairs. The other is one of Robert's former students, Harold Dobbs (Jake Gyllenhaal). "Hal" eventually makes his feelings towards Catherine known and their new bond leads her to trust him enough to reveal a hidden notebook with the mathematical proof for a highly important theorem. The work is absolutely brilliant but doubt enters the picture when Catherine states the proof is hers and not her father's.

Given it was based on a play, the movie comes up with a rather intelligent face and very complex characters, which was quite a relief compared to a lot of the other mundane movies out there. You can clearly see it was pretty much a four-person play since all the development is centered around them. The movie tried to avoid adding too many other characters to complicate things and the core story seemed to remain more or less intact.

I can completely understand why Gwyneth was nominated for a Golden Globe for this movie - she was very, very good an clearly understood her character and how to present her. She wasn't just the daughter of a brilliant mathematician but was a genius in her own right and thus shared more than one thing in common with her father. Her struggles in terms of how she had to deal with her father's declining mental health in his later years and eventually her own fears that the same thing would happen to her made for a very interesting range of emotions her character had to go through.

Jake Gyllenhaal on hand for the opening of ProofImage via Wikipedia

And Jake Gyllenhaal is sooo cute. And hot. Oh better yet - he is so geekily hot. Rawr.

The story is told from multiple time periods and so you'll find yourself being dragged back and forth between the past when her father was still alive and the present where the trio try to figure out whether or not the proof is authentic and if Catherine in fact authored it. There are moments when this may be a tad confusing, but overall you'll pick up the pattern well enough. The director did a great job of trying all the various plot points together while making sure the final reveal was both logical and quite rewarding.

And Jake was really adorable in a majorly geeky way. Extra points for naming a song i!!!

Proof was a nice, refreshing drama for me that was quite enjoyable and a pleasure to watch after a long day at work. I gets 4 time-worn notebooks out of 5.

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