As Catherine mopes through her fractured flashbacks and her grim, unhappy present, Hal uncovers a lost notebook among her father’s garbled papers that might be an important mathematical proof. This news shakes Catherine out of her mood for long enough to sleep with him. With Claire looking for Catherine to leave Chicago and live in New York and questions arising about the authorship of the notebook, Madden marches along the familiar path between genius and insanity while skirting the equally tricky fine line between outright tedium and passable entertainment.
Ultimatelyfalling somewhere between the sappy untruths of A Beautiful Mind and the hardcore tech-speak of Pi, Proof is a lacklustre, overwrought drama that lacks a sustaining tone or any element of surprise. Although artfully constructed in flashback, Proof just doesn’t add up. It’s too pretty and emotional for a geeky science movie, and too clever and humourless for a family drama. Hopkins does his modulated rant. Paltrow refuses to convince as the bereaved prodigy, staring off into space and mumbling, despite having the majority of the screen time. Gyllenhaal likewise is dull and stilted in a scattered, underwritten part. Hope Davis (who, through some freak of scheduling, appears in three movies currently in cinemas) does do better as the busy, uptight sister, providing some energy and bustle, but again this is a role written and played, appropriately enough, entirely by the numbers.