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Gwyneth Paltrow, Anthony Hopkins

The Official Site
DVD at

Label: John Madden, David Auburn Released: 10/7/2005

Gwyneth Paltrow deeply enthralls in her role as Catherine, a brooding, enigmatic young scholar, coping with the recent death of her father Robert (Anthony Hopkins), a brilliant, famous mathematician. She struggles to cope with the trials of recent years: her father's drift into dementia; her dutiful care for him in the eyes of absentee older sibling Claire (Hope Davis), and a society that had all but written him off. Herself a math whiz, she boasts a proud intellectual legacy, yet dreads the idea of having inherited the same psychological instability that plagued her father's life from a young age.

Matters escalate after a bizarre send-off for Robert at a psychedelic wake / rock party of sorts, when older sister Claire's busy-bodying and a budding romance between Catherine and Robert's former student (Jake Gyllenhaal) stir up Catherine's fragile reality. A precious mathematical find is suddenly revealed and an emotional dispute erupts as to its authorship.

Clever intercutting of flashback scenes which blend seamlessly with the real-time narrative underline Catherine's internal confusion and raise questions about trust, doubt and indeed her emotional stability. Hopkins shines as a disheveled but vibrant math genius who was stricken with the tragedy of madness and Gyllenhaal delights as the likable, shy math professor Hal. The two sisters are ever the polar opposites thanks to Hope Davis's understated, yet manipulative and almost heavy-handed character of seemingly well-meaning Claire, and Gwyneth Paltrow brings a tragic depth to Catherine's moodiness. Performances are intense and touching, as is the tone of the film as a whole.

See this one!

Natalie Baginski Email WWW


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