Saturday, July 21, 2007
poof! and proof
We had an inexplicable electric surge a couple of weeks ago (poof!) which fried our family room tv. This was not a major problem for me because I watch very little television, but Hubby and Offspring #2 were eager to replace it. (It was an older set and would have been spendy to fix it.) Offspring #2 made the excellent point that it would be nice to have a working tv when he recovers from shoulder surgery (happening July 25th). So last weekend Hubby, Offspring #2, and I trekked to Portland to get a new one. Since Offspring #1 was not available to help me balance "the boys", we ended up with a BIG one. It sort of looks like the old one on steroids.
But I'll admit the new set is great for watching movies, and last night Hubby and I watched Proof , one of those movies we never caught in theaters but have been meaning to see. The film, based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning play, centers on the question of authorship of a breakthrough mathematical proof. Gwyneth Paltrow gives a darn fine performance as Catherine, a math prodigy who has been caretaker of her mentally ill father Robert (Anthony Hopkins), a brilliant and famous math professor. Dad has gone to that Big Calculus Room in the Sky, and Catherine now struggles with her own confusing state of mind -- which is made more confusing by the arrival of her shrill sister to help with funeral arrangements and Hal, one of Robert's last students who wants to comb through Robert's bazillion notebooks (which had been filled during his years of mental disturbance) in hopes of finding something of mathematical merit.
Hmmm.... They probably should have just left this one as a play. On stage, I'll bet it was compelling to explore both the human connections and the fine line between genius and insanity. But on the big screen I think you need a bit more of a plot. And the problem with this one is that the mystery is sort of ho-hum for me. Imagine math class and the question: "Was it Pythagoras or someone else from his School who was the first to discover the proof of the Pythagorean Theorem???" I'd say if that sort of question seems riveting, definitely go ahead and rent Proof. If not, I'd wait for a stage production.