Proof (12A)

Written by David Auburn and Rebecca Miller
Directed by John Madden
Screening at FACT from 24th February 2006

Reviewed by Helen Grey

Based on the award-winning play by David Auburn, Proof explores the delicate line that exists between genius and madness. It follows the relationship between Robert (Anthony Hopkins) - a mathematical phenomenon in his youth who has descended into madness in later life - and his daughter Catherine (Gwyneth Paltrow).

Catherine is plagued with worry that she has not only inherited her father’s gift for maths but also his mental instability. Catherine is drained and empty after years of caring for her father, unwilling and unable to embrace anything that life has to offer outside of the walls of their house, including the advances of maths geek Hal (Jake Gyllenhaal). Catherine finds little comfort from her well-meaning but ultimately shallow sister (Hope Davis).

The film manages to be both tender and painful without the usual Hollywood gloss. Paltrow gives a convincing performance of a sunken young woman in turmoil, and Hopkins is as strong as ever a man desperately seeking to regain his faculties.

The script offers surprises throughout that continually pull the audience into the film. It is ultimately a strong, thought-provoking offering from Shakespeare In Love director John Madden. Those who are prepared to follow a dialogue-heavy script will be well rewarded.

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