MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2

Content: -1 1/2

Catherine (Gwyneth Paltrow) struggles with the death of her elderly father, Robert (Anthony Hopkins), a brilliant mathematician whose mental state had deteriorated in recent years. The two shared an obsession for math and the family home, which they cluttered with papers and notebooks filled with mathematical formulas. Catherine sinks into a deep depression fueled by her fear of inheriting her father’s mental illness. When Hal (Jake Gyllenhaal), one of Robert’s graduate students, begins to search his mentor’s desk to uncover valuable proofs of mathematical theorems, Catherine suspects his motive. Her anguish increases when Claire (Hope Davis), her older sister, tries to take control of Catherine, their father’s estate and the house. Possible Oscar nominations may spike box office returns, but general audiences may find Proof tedious and slow moving.

This is a study of relationships. Catherine’s bizarre behavior has all the earmarks of mental illness; she has no social life and no interest in her personal appearance or homemaking skills. Her whole life revolved around her father, whom she both loved and resented. At his funeral, she interrupts the service to speak about his illness, lashes out at those who deserted him, and says she is glad he is dead. While Claire is portrayed as self-absorbed, cold and insensitive, she does what she feels is right based on her sister’s fragile mental state. Jake slowly gains Catherine’s trust, and the two fall in love, leading to a brief sex scene without nudity. That, plus crude and obscene language and profanity, contribute to a negative acceptability rating. Also disturbing are Catherine’s conversations with her dead father. It is not clear whether she is imagining these incidents or if she is communicating with the dead.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Sony Pictures Classics

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Few (4) times – mild (hell 2); strong (-ss 2)

Obscene Language: Several (9) times – moderate (p-ss 1); strong (f-word 2, s-word 5, d-ck 1)

Profanity: Many (12) times – moderate (MG 2, G 1, G-sake 2); strong (GD 3, J 3, C 1)

Violence: None

Sex: Once – moderate (unmarried couple has sex with graphic motions but no nudity)

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times – moderate (reference to “getting laid”)

Drugs: Few times – mild (characters drink champagne out of bottle); moderate (drunken woman at funeral reception)

Other: Woman appears to communicate with dead father, acceptance of differences key to healthy relationships

Running Time: 100 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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