Box art for Proof



The daughter of a brilliant but mentally disturbed mathematician, recently deceased, tries to come to grips with her possible inheritance: his insanity.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 13
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
0 out of 5

Sometimes insightful, sometimes banal. Teens+.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that the movie includes discussion of suicide and insanity. With the focus on conflicts within a family -- between father and daughter, and between two sisters -- the film includes several tense scenes, arguments, and tearful recriminations. It also features some cursing, a brief and gently rendered love scene, and references to drugs (medical treatments as well as illicit drugs). Characters smoke and drink.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the relationships among family members -- two sisters and, in flashbacks, father and daughter. How do these relationships affect one another, as the sisters compete for the father's memory? You might also consider the movie's questions about insanity and brilliance: how are these subjective states connected or different, and also determined by social as well as medical standards?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 30
    see all Proof reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: Few movies regard the psyche with such sober discernment.

- Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle, Saturday, October 1, 2005

Fresh: A subtle, slow-burning mystery that does justice to its themes of identity, sanity and sacrifice.

- Anna Smith, Empire Magazine, Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fresh: offers a convincing demonstration of the theorem that good writing and sensitive performances can equal an engaging and nuanced piece of cinema.

- Anton Bitel, Eye for Film, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

4 stars

I'm not a math person, and, even though there's lots of math in this film, and it's about math people, it's not really "about" math, get it? It's about academics, and the weight of genius. Those are things I get. Both broad topics in this film have previously been seen in A Beautiful Mind. This movie is not a retread of that. It is similar, but altogether different. I really liked this. Some of the specifics went over my head, but one can know nothing about math and still get this movie and be entertained or moved by it. This is a lot better than I expected, and I liked it more than I thought I would. This is a small-character dirven piece (based on a four character play) that's mostly light on plot. but I love this kind of stuff. The material and the acting are what really carry things. They basically have to. There's nothing really cinematic going on ehre, but that's okay. It's been slightly expanded, and there are a few cinematic type flousihes here and there, but this is all about the characters. The acting is brilliant. Aside from The Royal Tenenbaums, I really didn't have much to say about Paltrow. I knew she was a good actress, but this confirms that she's really great. She's great at playing a tortured withdrawn person who's hopelessly isolated from the world in ultiple ways. I didn't really like the character played by Hope Davis, but she's also great. All of the perforers are. Given that this is about kooky academics, it reminded me of that other siilart film which featured Gyllenhaal's doppleganger Tobey Maguire (Wonder Boys). He's getting really good at these types of roles. Anthony Hopkins has played crazy before, but not like this. Give this one a chance. It's not something I would watch all the time, but I wouldn't mind seeing it every once in a while.

- cosmo313, Friday, October 1, 2010

3 stars

Anne Wittman, Anthony Hopkins, Colin Stinton A devoted daughter (Gwyneth Paltrow) comes to terms with the death of her father (Anthony Hopkins), a brilliant mathematician whose genius was crippled by mental instability. Along the way, she's forced to face her own dark fears. But she has help from one of her father's former students (Jake Gyllenhaal), who searches through the dead man's notebooks in hopes of discovering the key to his brilliance. . Pretty good movie. Don't think it is for a lot of people though. I enjoyed it. Liked the story of the bond between the daughter and father. It's a hard movie to follow. If your not paying close attention you will be lost. Anthony Hopkins gives another great performance. But there isn't a role this man can't fulfill. Really surprised by Gwyneth Paltrow. Her character was kinda dark, and I thought she pulled it off amazingly. It's a very intense movie. She questions her sanity because she has inherited so much of who her father is, that she is scared that his illness is something else she will inherit, if not already. The movie keeps you wondering the same thing til the end. It wasn't a "must see" film for me. But my curiosity got the best of me. It is hard for me to pass up any movie, not judge it til I have seen it for myself. So I am glad I didn't pass this one up.

- LWOODS04, Saturday, November 28, 2009

3 stars

I enjoyed this movie. The brilliance in the proof is somewhat obscure, but I can feel the possibilities. It would be difficult to come to grips with the probability that you have inherited both the brilliance and the craziness of your father. I just watched part of it again and noticed how much I liked the music -- it really drives the moods of the movie.

- Redlats, Wednesday, November 21, 2007