Who would have thought I would have loved a film about a mathematician?!
by Martin Hafer
The Man Who Knew Infinity is a very unlikely film for me to love. After all, the film is about a brilliant Indian mathematician who I never heard about and lacks most of the usual story elements I look forward to seeing in a movie. And yet, inexplicably, I found myself loving the picture and recommend you give it a try. It’s just debuted on DVD and is also available through Netflix.
The film begins in India just before WWI. A poor man with little education, Srinivasa Ramanujan (Dev Patel), has apparently taught himself advanced mathematics….and I am not just talking about Algebra and Geometry. It seems this man somehow naturally understood numbers in a way very, very have ever done and today he’s seen as one of the foremost men in the field…ever! This film is about his life just before his work was discovered as well as his time spent at Cambridge, working with the famous mathematics professor, G.H. Hardy (Jeremy Irons). The film covers the prejudices Ramanujan encountered as well as the initial difficulty getting folks to even consider that he could be right when it came to his theories.
I know my very brief description sounds very dull…but somehow it isn’t. Somehow, the writing, acting and the entire production screams quality and manages to be quite entertaining as well as uplifting. It’s also nice to see Dev Patel in yet another excellent film, as this young man seems to have a real knack for picking film projects (such as his appearing in Slumdog Millionaire and Chappie). As for Irons, he is, as usual, amazing…as is Toby Jones. A very, very strange film….and I mean that in the most positive of ways.
Do yourself a favor and give this one a try.