The daughter of a brilliant but mentally disturbed mathematician, recently deceased, tries to come to grips with her possible inheritance: his insanity. Complicating matters are one of her father's ex-students, who wants to search through his papers, and her estranged sister, who shows up to help settle his affairs.
After a terrorist bombing kills an American envoy in a foreign country, an investigation leads to an Egyptian who has been living in the United States for years and who is married to an ... See full summary »
The daughter of a brilliant but mentally disturbed mathematician (recently deceased) tries to come to grips with her possible inheritance: his insanity. Complicating matters are one of her father's ex-students who wants to search through his papers and her estranged sister who shows up to help settle his affairs.Written by
The role of Catherine was originated by Mary-Louise Parker in 2000 at the Walter Kerr Theatre in New York. Her performance won her a 2001 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play and a 2001 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play. See more »
Catherine's arm changes position when Claire talks about vegetarian chili. See more »
[stirring her out of a dream]
Oh, Jesus! Oh, you scared me.
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Not totally convincing, but enjoyable and well done
By the end, the pieces that worked made up for those that didn't. The movie was simple enough to hold together and subtle enough to make it interesting and, well, enjoyable. A father and daughter pair of math geniuses, and their mental anguish as well as their triumphs of doing good math, make for a heartwarming plot, and a fairly intimate one. It's not blown out of proportion--if anything, it pulls back on the some of the idiosyncrasies these kinds of people would show to each other and to the world.
The premise is a bit limited, in a way, a kind of trap because it has one theme--the possible final amazing proof the father may have left behind in one of his many journals--and the director, John Madden, plays it out with methodical precision. The lead actors have to hold it together, and Gwenyth Paltrow is commanding, for sure, even though more restrained than another actress would have been in the same shoes. Anthony Hopkins, as the father, is equally in control, and if a caricature of sorts, a convincing one. Most impressive, to the point of actual agitation, is the daughter's sister, played by Hope Davis, and when she arrives the movie perks up but also gets under your skin, as it should, and you want to scream at her. The one weakness is the boyfriend in it all, a dull and very un-math-like hunk, Jake Gyllenhaal.
The plot does matter very much, and it takes a couple of beautiful twists that are worth the wait. And the pace is agreeable, to use a mild word--it's not an exciting film, but with all the flashbacks and pretty scenes at night and so on, it's a enjoyable one.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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