PROOF (John Madden, 2005)
In PROOF long-suffering daughter Catherine (Gwyneth Paltrow) cares for her brilliant, mentally ill father Robert (Anthony Hopkins). Catherine’s dad was a mathematical genius, but his final years have been marked with insanity that left him unable to work. PROOF begins the night before Robert’s funeral, a time that causes Catherine to wonder about her own mental health and if her father’s affliction runs in the family.
Math can confirm many things, but it can’t prove that love exists or how much of it there is. Such is the dilemma in PROOF, an emotionally charged film that throbs like an open wound. Catherine cannot prove the most important things in her life, and it is ripping her apart. Paltrow’s inward performance is of a piece with her stunning work as Sylvia Plath in the biopic SYLVIA. Again she’s an intelligent, depressed woman, but what makes her performance as Catherine different is the physicality of it. She often doesn’t look at others in conversation and wraps her arms around herself, making tangible how wrapped up she is in her own mind. In PROOF Paltrow and her SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE director John Madden reteam for a dynamite actor’s showcase and depiction of the ravages of mental illness on the individual and the family.
(Review first aired in a modified version on the October 11, 2005 NOW PLAYING)