Proof delights with mathematics and romance

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There is nothing more fun than watching two talented actors such as Anthony Hopkins and Gwyneth Paltrow battle their wits out on screen.

After being absent from the screen to care for her dying father, Bruce Paltrow, versatile actress Gwyneth makes a comeback in a perplexing role in the new film Proof, due out Sept. 30.

Proof tells the story of a dysfunctional family and the conflicting interests each member shares. After Catherine’s (Paltrow) brilliant mathematician father Robert (Anthony Hopkins) who teaches at the University of Chicago dies of a sudden aneurism, Catherine descends into a state of grief and sadness over the loss of her father.

As she mopes around her father’s ramshackle house, Catherine undergoes an emotional turmoil and loses her grip on reality. The only person in her life who seems to console her is a former math student of her father’s, Hal (Jake Gyllenhaal).

Chaos erupts when Catherine’s domineering and estranged sister Claire (Hope Davis) flies in from New York to attend her father’s funeral and takes control of the situation. Convinced that Catherine is mentally unstable, Claire persuades her sister to move to New York with her and be under the care of a proper physician.

Catherine declines her sister’s invitation and instead vows to remain in her father’s home and hang on to his memory. As the two sisters argue over Catherine’s mental well-being, Hal rummages through the girl’s father’s old journals full of math problems and discovers a proof.

As the story progresses, we learn there is speculation that Catherine wrote the proof and not her father. The proof, whose brilliant math must have been worked out by a genius goes beyond anything any other math expert could even dream to attain.

Proof intertwines romance, emotional instability and family ties with mathematical theories and concepts. This wonderful film has so many attributes that it will appeal to a wide variety of audiences.

The acting is superb all around especially by Paltrow as the heroine conquering a mental illness and Hopkins as her enigmatic mathematician father.

Davis also contributes to the film’s fine acting as the apathetic, annoying sister we expect to loathe.

The most redeeming aspect of this film is the close relationship that Catherine and Robert share as father and daughter. The alienated sister, Claire, never forms a strong bond with her father much of which is due to the fact that she does not possess the same math prowess that Catherine and her father exhibit.