Actor Matthew Broderick (WarGames, Ferris Bueller's Day Off) offered up this, his 1996 directorial debut, as a whimsical romance and a tribute to an extraordinary scientist. Broderick plays the brilliant and eccentric Nobe... more »l Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman in a story based on his early life. The fun-loving Feynman and his young bride Arlene, played by Patricia Arquette (True Romance) enjoy their courtship and young married life in New York until Feynman is called away to New Mexico to participate in the Manhattan Project and the development of the hydrogen bomb. Their storybook romance is further complicated when Arlene discovers she is seriously ill, and Feynman must confront not only the morality of his participation in the development of the bomb but the nature of life and death and the love he has for his wife. A nice, small sweet romance that aims low but scores high, Infinity is a quirky but poignant love story and a fine directorial debut. --Robert Lane« less
"Richard Feynman was surely the most interesting physicst in history and one of the most interesting individuals rivaled by very few. His books are brilliant and his ability both at physics (and nearly everything else he did) and teaching are legendary. Unfortunately, none of that is touched upon here. The closest we get is the scene with the cube roots (we also have the scene with Dr. Wheeler, but this shows him getting an incorrect answer). I know that the film was supposed to be a love story, and, in that, it was successful. This was tremendously emotional, and, I believe, true to the stories by Feynman, himself. Unfortunately, many of the stories that establish Feynman at his best are nowhere to be found. We see nothing of his time at school ("Who Took the Door", etc.), which would have been appreciated. This is not simply wishing to see physics and mathematics in a film, but rather to establish Feynman as the fun-loving practical joker and lover of life that he was. Broderick did a fine job portraying him (although I can honestly see Robin Williams playing him later in life), there was very little unique to Feynman. It could have been anyone. There was no mention of Feynman's need to do things his own way, and so forth. So, what I am really saying is that as a stand alone, or for someone who isn't totally in awe of Feynman as I am, this is a good love story. For someone like me, however, there's too much lacking that would have brought Feynman to the public as I think Broderick wanted."
A great biographical film of a truly great man
D. Roberts | Battle Creek, Michigan United States | 08/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had heard rumors about this somewhat obscure film, but nobody who had seen it could remember the title. Finally, one day I stumbled upon it @ Amazon.com. With great excitement I ordered it immediately, nor did it end up being unworthy of my anticipation.The film centers around the epoch of Richard Phillips Feynman's courtship of and marriage to his 1st wife, Arline. As such, it also touches upon Feynman's "vocation" during World War II, which was being an active member of the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, New Mexico.The book is mostly based on Feynman's book called WHAT DO YOU CARE WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK? [ISBN: 0393320928, also available @ Amazon.com]. The book is highly recommended for all persons who have an interest in viewing this movie. There are also a few tidbits from SURELY YOU'RE JOKING MR. FEYNMAN [ISBN: 0393316041] and John Archibald Wheeler's GEONS, BLACK HOLES AND QUANTUM FOAM [ISBN: 0393319911]. Both of these latter books are highly recommended to the Feynman enthusiast as well. The story of Feynman's sublime and fervent love that he felt for his terminally ill wife is nothing short of inspiring. As the great physicist has for many years been one of my most admired personages, it is without embarrassment that I admit this to be one of the few films that has ever made me cry. Even viewers who have never heard of this scientist would be hard-pressed not to be moved by this film.As a bonus, the film does a good job of incorporating on the margins Feynman's dad, little sister, Joan (who earned a Ph.D. in physics herself from Syracuse university), John Archibald Wheeler, Hans Bethe, a young Henry Bethe and Robert Oppenheimer. The handful of verbal over-lays are well-placed and do not get in the way of the film's symmetry. Although Broderick has never been one of my favorite actors, he pulled off his portrayal of a young Feynman quite well (if you ignore the fact that his New York accent is a bit inconsistent). It would be nice to see more movies like this in the future."
Glad somebody did it
charley hardman | occupied US | 06/05/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"i have many books by/about richard feynman, and i must've read 'surely you're joking' about 7 times. it would be easy to criticize parts of this movie, but i'm so happy about what they got right that i won't bother (except to say that the audio sometimes has noticeable noise gating). with such a crazy character as feynman, this movie could've been a disaster, but it's much closer to the other end of the scale.
i never would've picked mathew broderick to play feynman; it was a nice surprise to see that he's an obvious and enthusiastic fan. certain scenes just blew me away with the spirit of rpf shining through, and he and patricia arquette are very good together. i think she was the best actress for arlene, in looks and quirks. speaking of looks, there are shots in the movie where i don't think i've ever seen her look so amazing.
i would guess that if you asked richard what he thought of 'infinity' he would hate his portrayal but love arlene's, and i'd guess the reverse would be true if you asked arlene. couldn't ask for much beyond that when you consider that this is more a love story than it is a biography of richard feynman. of course, i could be entirely wrong with that richard/arlene theory!
in any case, what could be better for rpf fans than a love story which happens to be about richard feynman and arlene greenbaum? if you're a fan of 'surely you're joking' and 'what do you care what other people think?', you may do as i did and laugh your eyeballs out whenever a scene makes you think of the books. "cube roots!"
for those who don't know anything about feynman, my experience so far (one guinea pig) is that the movie appeals to them as well."
Ashutosh Jogalekar | Somerville, NJ | 04/05/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I totally agree with one of the reviewers who says that this movie 'aims low but manages to score high'. I am a long time Feynman fan, just like many others, and I don't frankly think anyone could ever capture the essence of Richard Feynman on screen...except Feynman himself! But I think this movie does a brilliant job at portraying the emotional side of Feynman, through his relationship with Arline, his high school sweetheart. The story is very touching, as narrated by Feynman himself in 'What do you care what other people think!' It was a real tragedy she passed away early, as they were a perfect couple. The movie does manage to capture the sentimental value of that wonderful time which the two shared. About the performances, I do not think that Matt Broderick does a great impersonation of Feynman. But then, maybe no one can. On the other hand, Matt Broderick brings out the sincerity and honesty of the man to the greatest extent. He is perfect for the job, as he easily fits the character of a honest, nice and carefree kid. He is wonderfully complemented by Patricia Arquette. From what I have read about Arline, I think she quite fits the role of the clear thinking, artistic and emotional girl who could captivate someone like Feynman. Overall, I think that the movie is very touching, an example of the kind of films which you rarely see these days, and should be viewed as a very nice movie in its own right, bringing out the emotional side of a truly great man."
A VERY good film
Ashutosh Jogalekar | 03/15/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Not being a terrific movie buff, I accidentally found this to watch over cable. I've ordered it. Feynman was irrefutably one of the great minds, and characters, of the 20th century. I was most fortunate in having seen him lecture and even getting to interact with him as a student. However impossible it might have been to bring forth his personal mannerisms, Broderick did a job which was overly impressive. The drama of Feynman's love with Arline, to me, was unbearably poignant. Science was presented fairly well. The era of the war was captured, regarding those remaining stateside. New Mexico scenes were extroadinary and very accurate. I didn't know a thing about Broderick, but I say a great film was developed under his acting and directorship."