Tuesday, May 02, 2006


2005, US, directed by John Madden

Rating: ***

A solid adaptation of the Pulitzer-winning play, Proof features a fine performance from Gwyneth Paltrow; it's a major step-up from the overrated Shakespeare in Love (also directed by John Madden). Paltrow plays Catherine, a young woman who has lived in the shadow of her mathematician father (Anthony Hopkins), a man who was a genius in his youth, but who was later ravaged by psychiatric illness. In the aftermath of his death, Catherine has to deal with an overbearing sister (Hope Davis, playing successfully against type) and a young mathematician in search of 'lost' work (the very un-nerdy Jake Gyllenhaal). Director Madden does a decent job taking the play beyond its stage origins, although the house around which the action is centered does have a certain theatricality; the price of movie realism is the loss of several longer speeches, particularly from the father (though Hopkins seems so sleepy, it's perhaps no great loss). Paltrow shows skill in playing an often unsympathetic central character, caught between her commitment to her father and her desire to develop an independent existence.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States