Review: The Man Who Knew Infinity, B
Rated PG-13, 114 minutes
Math has never been my strong suit, I lean toward the history/writing/creative end of things, but I have a deep respect for those who enjoy numbers. The compelling new biopic "The Man Who Knew Infinity" tells the story about one of those people and his struggle to gain respect and recognition. The film pulls few surprises, but it should please those in need of an uplifting true story. In 1913, Srinivasa Ramanujan (Dev Patel), a self-taught Indian mathematics genius, traveled to Trinity College, Cambridge, where over the course of five years, forged a bond with his mentor, the brilliant and eccentric professor, G.H. Hardy (Jeremy Irons), and fought against prejudice to reveal his mathematic genius to the world. Directed and written by Matthew Brown and based on Robert Kanigel's same-named biography of Ramanujan, "The Man Who Knew Infinity" is familiar and often feels as stuffy as a college lecture (after all, this is really a movie about many people's least favorite subject - math), but the strong performances from Patel and Irons as Ramanujan's mentor Hardy make it worthwhile viewing. In addition, it introduces the lovely Indian actress Devika Bhise as Ramanujan's new, long-suffering and beautiful bride, who must stay behind in India while her husband's solves some of the world's most difficult math equations. As with any good biopic, illness plays a factor, though in fact it is central to Ramanujan's real story, as his life was tragically cut short and his life barely skimmed the surface of infinity. The production values are solid, with realistic costumes, vehicles, sets and lovely photography that underscore both the impressive beauty and power of Cambridge. Math equations must be proven (called "proofs") to be given merit, but proofs aren't needed to see the value in a worthy story like Ramanujan's in "The Man Who Knew Infinity," a solid, if not unsurprising, look at a math genius whose equations still hold relevance today.