Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5. USA, 2005. Miramax, Endgame Entertainment, Hart-Sharp Entertainment, Inside Track 1. Screenplay by David Auburn, Rebecca Miller, based on the play by David Auburn. Cinematography by Alwin H. Kuchler. Produced by Robert Kessel, Alison Owen,Jeffrey Sharp. Music by Stephen Warbeck. Production Design by Alice Normington. Costume Design by Jill Taylor. Film Editing by Mick Audsley. Golden Globe Awards 2005. Toronto International Film Festival 2005.
Following the death of her brilliant but insane mathematician father (Anthony Hopkins), Gwyneth Paltrow finds herself in a sea of confusion and despair that isn’t helped by the arrival of her emotionally repressed sister (Hope Davis) or an anxious student of her father’s (Jake Gyllenhaal) who wants to examine his work. Both characters push and prod Paltrow in different directions, one caring about her emotional well-being and the other her professional, until the whole thing explodes with the revelation of a document of mathematical genius that turns out to be the stuff dreams are made of. This brilliant adaptation of David Auburn’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play (which he wrote for the screen with Rebecca Miller) is an ultimately touching indulgence in the world of intellectual genius and family drama, educational and entertaining at the same time and brought to vibrant life by Paltrow’s exceptional performance. She hasn’t been this good in her entire career, and she is ably supported by Hopkins as her slowly-corroding father and a scene-stealing Davis, who makes her character both sympathetic and reprehensible at the same time. Gyllenhaal doesn’t have to work too hard to keep up with the rest of his co-stars, but his casting as a mathematics geek whose stubble is always perfect reeks of Hollywood interference and prevents him from being taken as seriously.