From the acclaimed director of SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, PROOF stars Oscar(R) winners Gwyneth Paltrow (Best Actress, SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, 1998) and Anthony Hopkins (Best Actor, SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, 1991), along with Jake Gylle... more »nhaal (JARHEAD, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN) and Hope Davis (ABOUT SCHMIDT). It's a powerful story of a young woman haunted by her father's past and the shadow of her own future. Catherine (Paltrow) has devoted years to caring for her brilliant but mentally unstable father, Robert (Hopkins), a mathematical genius. But when his genius slips away, he leaves behind a mystery that affects her life ... and her own sanity. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play.« less
Elizabeth H. from MOUNT JULIET, TN Reviewed on 1/14/2011...
This is a great movie....great packaging with the cast and story-on-a-story...very tight! Who wouldn't like watching Sir Anthony Hopkins and Gwyneth Paltrow and.....of course...Jake Gyllenhaal...worth watching a couple of times before trading!
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Ruth S. from PLANTSVILLE, CT Reviewed on 12/13/2010...
I thought this a lovely movie about a daughter's love for her father and her own personal struggle with self. The acting was fantastic and I'd recommend it to anyone.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Karen A. from DENVER, CO Reviewed on 7/4/2010...
This is a dark drama. Performances by Paltrow, davis, gyllenhaal and hopkins were as always stellar.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
James B. (wandersoul73) from LINDALE, TX Reviewed on 4/1/2010...
I simply adored this film!!! These actors feed off of each other so masterfully!
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Dale B. from CHICKASHA, OK Reviewed on 3/2/2010...
Interesting movie and a surprise near the end. Not a great movie, but very enjoyable.
KELLY B. from GLENS FALLS, NY Reviewed on 11/12/2009...
waited a long time to see movie...it was different than i thought...it was good....gwyneth played a good charactor.
Michele D. (Shelly) from GREENUP, IL Reviewed on 9/4/2009...
I really enjoyed this movie. It had a great cast, and strong story line.
Sandra S. (ratracesandra) from CUMMING, GA Reviewed on 8/4/2008...
Andrea K. (akapel) from MANVEL, TX Reviewed on 4/9/2008...
This was the worst movie I've ever seen. Kept waiting for it to get good and finally I just fell asleep.
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Riveting Performances by an Excellent Cast
Tucker Andersen | Wall Street | 10/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an entrancing movie which marvelously tells an engaging story; the four cast members who totally dominate the film all deliver superb performances. Gwyneth Paltrow reprises the role which she played on the London stage, twenty-seven year old Catherine, the daughter of Robert (Anthony Hopkins), a mathematical genius who has died days before the first scene in the film occurs. Robert's worshipful former student Hal (Jake Gyllenhaal), who is currently a university lecturer, is beginning the task of reading through the multitudinous notebooks which Robert compiled in his final years in the hopes that he will find some traces of Robert's former brilliance amid the voluminous ramblings. The audience soon is presented with the bare bones outline of the central element which forms the backdrop for the remainder of the film, Robert had increasing succumbed to mental illness during the last four years of his life and Catherine gradually withdrew from all aspects of the life which she was leading to provide full-time care for him in order to avoid his institutionalization. The final element of the story which we are to watch unfold during the remainder of the film is soon introduced in the person of Catherine's super organized older sister Claire (Hope Davis), who arrives from NYC not only to attend the funeral as Catherine has expected but to also to quickly get her father's estate in order and help provide Catherine with a new direction for her life.
The juxtaposition is startling, Claire is as self confident, assured and ready to take charge as Catherine is apathethic, confused and withdrawn; Paltrow and Davis play off each other to develop the contrast between their characters extremely well. As the story unfolds through very frequent flashbacks interspersed with a gradual progression of action in the present, the complexity of the backstory and how it has affected both of the sisters is developed in a very nuanced way which succeeds in keeping both of them (especially Davis) from becoming the caricatures which could easily have resulted. An additional element of the story is the tension of Hal's relationship with Catherine, both because he is attracted to her and wants to help her escape her angst and also in her role as the daughter of his "hero" and the person who controls the access to Robert's notes, which might allow Hal to jumpstart his career.
The key moment in the story occurs soon after Robert's funeral, when Catherine allows Hal access to a notebook which has been locked away separate from all her father's other work and which contains the PROOF of a mathematical puzzle which not even the most brilliant mathematicians have been able to solve. Without giving away the details which make up the rest of the film, Claire and Hal suspect that it is a work which Robert completed in his lucid moments during the periods of remission from his madness which Catherine's care afforded him; Catherine soon reluctantly declares that it is in fact her own work and is crushed and completely withdraws emotionally when they both refuse to believe her. While we have previously seen very brief hints that she has inherited her father's genius, she herself seems ambivalent about the implications of this fact for her future life. Of course, by attempting to help her sister Catherine regain her equilbrium, Claire instead accentuates Catherine's fears that she has inherited their father's illness as well as his genius and thus both effectively making Catherine appear a more pathethic figure while emphasizing the worst elements of her own overbearing nature.
David Auburn's play received both the Pulitzer Prize and a Tony award, and he and Rebecca Miller have adapted it marvelously to the screen although in many ways its structure still has substantial elements of a stage presentation (which I wish I had seen). Despite the fact that Robert dies before the film begins, Anthony Hopkins' performance is so complete and the directing and editing so deft that the moviegoers soon forget that they are watching a dead man. There are several comedic moments to lighten the otherwise almost constant tension, but this is a film for those interested in a serious well told tale.
CAVEATS: first, this film obviously ends but there is no conclusion to the story, it is a story to be continued in the lives of Catherine, Jake and Claire. There clearly is reason for hope but the optimism must come from the recognition that they all have the ability to control their own futures. I definitely agree with another reviewer that this is one of the few films which I think could actually benefit from being lengthened to more than its 100 minutes in running time. Second, while the story telling technique of interspersed flashbacks is very effective, it is also disconcerting at times. Although it is immediately clear that the scenes involving Hopkins are flahbacks, at times the shifts between the past and prsent involving the other characters are so abrupt and frequent that they are momentarily confusing. While the last criticism would normally be sufficient for me to downgrade my rating, given the quality of the film I regard it as a relatively minor quibble. My five star rating is for the thought provoking nature of the story, the excellent performances of the cast (perhaps of Academy award quality), and my total enjoyment of the film and how it completely captivated me.
Tucker Andersen "
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 02/16/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Proof of a mathematical equation and proof of madness are the two driving forces in John Madden's film. Catherine (Gwyneth Paltrow) who cared for her brilliant mathematician father Robert (Anthony Hopkins) is afraid that she's inherited his other "gift"-mental illness. Catherine cared for her father Robert during the end. When Claire (Hope Davis) Catherine's sister arrives home for the funeral she expresses concern for Catherine's mental state. Catherine begins to doubt her own teetering sanity. Robert's assistant Hal (Jake Gyllenhaal) rummages around Robert's papers the night before and after the funeral trying to find an important equation her father was working on before he died. Featuring a group of strong performances, "Proof" is a compelling drama about grief, madness and emotional seclusion. Although Madden's drama suffers from the stage origins of the play but the emotional high wire act the cast performs makes it worthwhile. Whether or not there's "proof" of this film being a "great" film is based on how drawn into the drama you are by the appealing cast. A warning about some of the other reviews here--there good reviews but some of them have spoilers that give away a lot of the plot of the film. If you want to be surpised and enjoy the ride then I'd suggest you skip reading these reviews.
"Proof" looks extremely good here with natural skin tones, sharp image quality and nice definition. The 5.1 audio isn't exactly designed for the format since this a dialogue driven film but there is nice ambient sounds evident in the other speakers.
A clinical but interesting commentary track by John Madden is interesting to listen to but would have been enlightened by the cast's contribution. We also get deleted scenes none of which are revelations "From Stage to Screen" covers the adaptation of the stage play to film. One of the challenges was staying true to the stage roots while opening up the player and making it less stage bound. Producer Allison Owen makes an interesting comment-she imagined the film as the type of film that would have been made in the 70's where moving and powerful drama was still king in theaters. The cast and Madden discuss their characters and what attracted them to the project. Madden comments that many audience members thought that the play was like watching a movie which is a bit unusual but that was because of the fact that the play was told from a variety of different points of view and the staging.
A fine film that touches on madness, emotional isolation and the fear of what lies down the road for anyone; "Proof" is a fascinating drama that works amazingly well due to the strong performances. Madden who worked with Paltrow in "Shakespeare in Love" clearly connects with Paltrow and Anthony Hopkins. "
Appreciate it for the writing.
iaintsharkbait | 03/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's interesting that most people tend to have a problem with the screenplay for this movie, when it is almost word for word the stage play, which is renowned for its elegance and simplicity. Perhaps the issue comes up in the flashbacks and the ending, both of which disagree with the play. Still, as a stage adaptation to film, Proof does the job beautifully. The characters remain true to their original 2-dimensionality; it is the apparent lack of emotion that actually lends itself to intense feelings from the viewer."
A Perfectly Integrated Film, Played as a Fine String Quarte
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 02/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"PROOF is one of those rare films that transfers a superb play directly to the screen without losing a bit of the power of the play, but enhancing the story with the advantages of the camera. With a tough story like this one it takes a brilliant cast and director to fine-tune the work and in this instance it all works to perfection.
The story is well known from all the PR of the theatrical screening: recounting it in a review does not add or subtract the importance of the film or the experience of the viewer. The premise, mathematician Robert (Anthony Hopkins) and his caretaker daughter Catherine (Gweneth Paltrow) who also is an uncommonly bright 27-year-old mathematics mind and has spent the glowing years of her youth caring for her recently deceased father. They converse in flashbacks, a means of realizing the closeness of their bond emotionally, mentally, and probably parallel mental illness proclivities. Robert left notebooks filled with thoughts and clues to a complex mathematical proof and Hal (Jake Gyllenhaal), a devoted admirer of Robert's genius, is organizing the thoughts and deciphering the meanings of Robert's scribblings. Catherine's estranged sister Claire (Hope Davis) arrives to 'settle' the matters left by Robert's demise and becomes the camera that brings focus to the fact that Catherine has inherited not only her father's genius but his mental fragility as well. How this quartet - Robert, Catherine, Hal, Claire - serve to unravel the findings of Robert's (and Catherine's) legacy is the essence of this gripping tale.
A more powerful group of actors for this film would be difficult to find. One expects the brilliance of Paltrow's performance since she had time with the character on the stage, and Hopkins can toss these bizarre characters off with grace and aplomb. But it is the pleasure of seeing Davis and Gyllenhaal rise to the same level of expertise that makes the film glow. This is an example of ensemble acting of the highest form and director Madden conducts the performance with sensitivity and momentum. The result is a treasureable, intelligent, powerful film that challenges the mind while entertaining all the senses. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, February 06"
Boomer | Raleigh, NC | 01/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There isn't much I can add to the terrific reviews already written. In addition to the excellent acting, directing, and adaptation of a screenplay, this is a truly excellent cautionary tale about leaping to conclusions--including those about one's own merit or lack of same--and the dangers of letting yourself be defined by other people's perceptions, however well-intended. This is one of the few films I have ever seen that I can honestly recommend to anyone."