CORPORATE LINE: Gwyneth Paltrow, who won an Oscar for her performance in director John Madden’s SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, teams up again with Madden in PROOF, a poignant drama based on David Auburn’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play. Paltrow lights up the screen as Catherine, a young woman who has given up a seemingly bright future in order to take care of her ailing father, Robert (Anthony Hopkins), a formerly brilliant mathematician who went crazy. After he dies, Catherine’s closed-off world is invaded by Hal (Jake Gyllenhaal), a young mathematician who worshipped Robert, and Claire (Hope Davis), her successful sister who fears that Catherine is too much like their father–a talented, supremely intelligent person with severe mental problems. During the last years of his life, Robert filled 103 notebooks with his writings, but one of them, written during a brief period of lucidity, could turn the math world on its head, while also threatening Catherine’s already wavering sanity. Auburn co-wrote the screenplay with Rebecca Miller (PERSONAL VELOCITY, THE BALLAD OF JACK AND ROSE), taking it off the stage, setting it in and around Chicago, and breathing new life into the story, along with Stephen Warbeck’s compelling score and plenty of outstanding acting, particularly by the glowing Paltrow and the earnest Gyllenhaal.
THE REVIEW: Catherine’s constant struggle with her mental health is at the heart of the story. The story flashes back from the past to the present even though it doesn’t get confusing—however it can disrupt the flow.
Paltrow does a great job keeping us in the dark about whether she is going crazy. Director John Madden does well to keep the viewer on edge as to Catherine’s mental state. Paltrow takes an average character and makes her interesting. After the introduction of the characters the film really slows. There is a love story that unfolds as the rest of the film tries to stay on track.
The commentary by Director John Madden is interesting and offers a good deal of insight into the shooting of the film and its plot.
There are deleted scenes with optional commentary.
“From Stage to Screen: The Making of Proof” – This covers much of the same ground as the director commentary.
FRANKLY: All of the flashbacks and sub-narratives fog Proof. Once Proof ends you wonder if it was all worth watching.
+ Charlie Craine