We finally made it to the movies this weekend.
"Proof" is at the MAC, and I'm happy to report it was well worth the price of prime time admission. Gwenyth Paltrow is wonderful, Jake Gyllenhaal is also wonderful and hunky as ever, and an aging, but still quite capable, Anthony Hopkins did not embarass himself.
"Proof" is a smart story told in large part by flashbacks. Which is, I must admit, one of my more favorite movie devices. Anthony Hopkins plays Paltrow's father who is already dead by the time the movie begins. A brilliant and important mathmetician in his youth, Hopkins had become senile in his old age with his daughter dropping out of college to nurse him at the (very difficult and prolonged) end of his life. Also a mathmetician, Paltrow is plagued by fears that along with a proclivity for math, she may have inherited her father's madness. We join the action on the night before Anthony's funeral.
Hope Davis also stars as "Claire", Gwennie's annoying older sister who flies in from NYC (the movie is set in Chicago) for the father's funeral and to attempt to "manage" her sister. It took me a while to place Davis, but I finally remembered her from another movie, "The Secret Lives of Dentists" a Campbell Scott film in which she pretty deftly handled the role of a philandering and confused wife. Davis is no less adept here and is a great addition to the cast.
It will come as a surprise to no one that Gyllenhaal, who plays Anthony's math student, and Paltrow become lovers fairly early on in the movie. The camera in fact spends a whole lot of time about an inch or two from the faces of these talented actors. And while I'm not complaining, they're both so incredibly good looking that it's almost a distraction. Paltrow is especially luminous with seemingly no make-up (and no pores) and those incredible china blue eyes. Paltrow's performance is intense and oscar-worthy.
Eventually, Paltrow's sanity is questioned by just about everyone. The title of the movie refers to a "proof" as in a math problem and eventually takes on another meaning as the story unfolds. The movie is cleverly told and does not disappoint.
I give it four out of five stars. The movie doesn't quite manage maintain the same level of intensity throughout, but overall it's great. Don't pass this one up.
I did have a chance to inquire of the MAC staff if we are EVER going to get "Capote" and the answer is 'yes', albeit not any time soon. In fact we're talking at least February and the same for "Brokeback Mountain". As I've become fond of saying, they should probably just go on and mail everybody in "Brokeback" their oscar now, if the buzz is any indication. Although, far be it from me to complain about a double-dose of Gyllenhaal. Yummy.