Prayer Focus
Movie Review


MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some sexual content, language and drug references

Reviewed by: Joseph Martinez

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults Teens
1 hr. 40 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
September 16, 2005 (LA—7 theaters)
September 23, 2005 (limited)
September 30, 2005 (wide)
Featuring: Gwyneth Paltrow, Anthony Hopkins, Jake Gyllenhaal, Hope Davis
Director: John Madden
Producer: John N. Hart, Jeffrey Sharp, Alison Owen
Distributor: Miramax Films
Copyright, Miramax Films
Copyright, Miramax Films
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Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Discover biblical answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more.

The biggest risk in life is not taking one.

Gwyneth Paltrow proves why she is one of the best actresses of her generation in Proof. Reunited with her Shakespeare in Love director John Madden, Paltrow’s performance was the shining light of this well crafted ensemble piece.

The film does have its share of holes; unfortunately one of those holes happens to be the plot. Paltrow plays the daughter of a genius mathematician, played by Anthony Hopkins, who lost his brilliance and sanity. Her fear is that her similarities to her father may not end with mathematical genius. She is afraid that she may also be going insane. The problem is that there is not enough evidence to demonstrate why this would be the case. When a person loses a parent they have cared for, there is naturally going to emotional issues that have to be dealt with.

The film begins one week after the death of her father. Naturally, she is shaken, sad, lonely and bitter. She is understandably upset at her sister for not helping her take care of her father—and bitter at the world for remembering a man in death when they forgot him in life. She was even bitter at herself for wanting the death of her father so that she did not have to see him in his condition any longer; at the funeral she exclaims “I am glad he’s dead.”

The second plot line involves the character played by Jake Gyllenhaal, who is a student of Anthony Hopkins’ character. He is a self-proclaimed “geek” who is searching through the records of his departed mentor to hopefully discover some mathematical breakthroughs. A love for math is not needed to understand this film, but it would help make it far more interesting. Gyllenhaal is very convincing as Paltrow’s love interest. He seems to be the only character with any selfless care for her at all. When he betrays her, you understand her disappointment even more.

As a Christian, I could not recommend this film; there is a fornication scene (without nudity) and cussing. However, as a non-Christian I would not have recommended this film either, because, to put it simply, this is a very weak film. The acting is strong, but the overall plot is not woven, the film feels incohesive; it just does not flow. If, like me, you absolutely love Gwenyth Paltrow, then go and see it; if you don’t, then skip it.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Minor

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—“Proof” looks rather “made for TV,” but I still liked it. More than anything, it shows what can happen when you lack self esteem and do not follow your dream.
My Ratings: Average / 3
—Gloria, age 56
Negative—This film has very good actors who do a good job in this movie. The plot is also good. It reminded me of the movie “A Beautiful Mind.” However, the Lord’s name is taken in vain more than 7 times, and there is a sex scene between unmarried participants. This film would have been very good if they would have left the junk out!!
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 3
—Barry Madosky, age 42
Neutral—I saw this as a local stage play with local actors, and as a movie with big time actors, and liked the stage play better. As a play it was a tight 4 person drama, as a movie that drama gets diluted. The play ends with more ambiguity than the movie, causing one to think more about the content. As a Christian, I would rate this movie average: neither particulary better or particulary worse than many movies I have seen over the last year.
My Ratings: Average / 3
—Pat, age 51
Positive—For me, this was a very powerful movie for one reason: the emotional and intellectual connection between father and daughter. The father desired a close relationship with the daughter. He wanted to share his passion for math with her, that together they would accomplish more than they could alone. The daughter sacrificed herself in many ways to be her father’s caretaker, support and confidant. Most films ignore or belittle the relationship between parents and their adult children. “Proof” showed love and concern flowing in both directions.

Admittedly this movie hits close to home. I am a degreed math nerd (still sane I hope), and I have some of the same books shown in the film. My own daughters have inherited a love of numbers from me, and we enjoy connecting on that level. But it does not have to be math. Each parent must find the channels of connectivity with their children and use them to develop their relationship when young, and maintain it into adulthood.
My Ratings: Average / 4
—Stephen Wood, age 44
Positive—I LOVED this movie!!! Jake Gylleenhaal and Gweneth Paltrow acted wonderfully well in this movie. What a great movie, really moving and I got all the emotions, very well done!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Noel, age 18
Movie Critics
…watchable but second rate… ‘Proof’ flirts with hefty themes, yet too often it barely tethers them to a recognizable, lived-in world…
—Entertainment Weekly, Owen Gleiberman
…earnest but sloggy… the story’s genial unpretentiousness has been darkened and weighed down, and what’s left is less than prime.
—Chicago Tribune, Michael Phillips
…there may be math between Paltrow and Gyllenhaal, but there is no chemistry…
—New York Post, Kyle Smith
…an interesting, talky drama with a lot to say. Adults looking for a mature, if not edifying, entertainment may be satisfied.
…a thoughtful look at the supposed thin line between brilliance and insanity…
—Crosswalk, Stephen McGarvey