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Wick's Review

Created May 17, 2016 10:30PM PST • Edited Nov 01, 2020 03:36PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Really Great 4.5

    Harry Potter echoes throughout The Man Who Knew Infinity, the biopic of Srinivasa Ramanujan, a math wizard from humble circumstances who rose to prominence at an opulent and august English institution. Set in the ornate halls of 1910s-era Trinity College, it profiles an amazingly able – and real – outsider.

    Ramanujan, a new name to me, is well known to my spell checker. So Apple knows of his importance. He would have been ideal in a Think Different ad, an Indian mathematician now ranked right behind Newton.

    As a film, The Man Who Knew Infinity is an outstanding period piece of Madras, India and Cambridge, England in the latter 1910s. These worlds apart are brought vividly to life in Matt Brown’s stunningly assured PrestigePic. Wow. Brown’s filmography previously included only a failed romcom. Now this.

    Hitchcock made The Man Who Knew Too Much, twice. Brown’s Man Who Knew Infinity is an entirely different kind of movie, yet Hitch & Brown operate on similarly advanced levels, two men who knew how.

  3. Great 4.0
    Dev Patel as S. Ramanujan and Jeremy Irons as G. H. Hardy

    Patel plays Ramanujan, a very tall task. He pulls it off, essaying the great mathematician as a duty-bound, religious, virginal, hen-pecked creature of habit. Patel even gets to play some death scenes, the full range. It’s not Russell Crowe as John Nash in A Beautiful Mind, but very strong nonetheless. Paired with Patel’s breakout performance as the eldest brother in Slumdog Millionaire, it comprises Dev’s Big Duo.

    Irons is ideal to play Hardy, England’s leading mathematician and a fellow at Trinity College Cambridge. Irons is England to me and about 50,000,000 other moviegoers. A senior citizen now, he never gives a poor performance, occasionally a great one and once in a while a perfect one. He’s ideally cast and really great as G.H. Hardy, a hero of British mathematics before he ever heard of the Genius Ramanujan.

    Strong Supporters
    • Madras
      • Devika Boise makes an engaging debut as Ramanujan’s lovely wife Janaki. She jumps off screen, so deserves to be on more.
      • Arundhati Nag is the one true villain as Ramanujan’s possessive and vindictive mother.
    • Cambridge
      • Toby Jones is ideal as John Littlewood, creator of Littlewood’s Law that says a person can expect one miracle a month.
      • Jeremy Northam doesn’t do much to distinguish Bertrand Russell, but doesn’t have to given the stir caused when the name “Bertrand Russell” is dropped.
      • Stephen Fry smugly essays a British overlord in the British Raj.
  4. Male Stars Really Great 4.5
  5. Female Stars Great 4.0
  6. Female Costars Great 4.0
  7. Male Costars Really Great 4.5
  8. Really Great 4.5

    Matt Brown had only a failed romcom to his credit prior to this. Now he’s written and directed the best biopic of the year.

  9. Direction Perfect 5.0
  10. Play Really Great 4.5

    Matt Brown adapted his screenplay from Robert Kaniglel’s 1991 biography The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan. It was probably Brown’s idea to make Ramanujan’s wife 20, instead of 14.

  11. Music Really Great 4.5
  12. Visuals Perfect 5.0
  13. Content
  14. Tame 1.4
  15. Sex Innocent 1.4
  16. Violence Gentle 1.4
  17. Rudeness Polite 1.4
  18. Glib 1.1

    Exploring the world of Ramanujan, Hardy & Littlewood has been a near infinite joy.

    Let’s just sum it up in one number, the Hardy-Ramanujan number.

  19. Circumstantial Glib 1.3
  20. Biological Natural 1.0
  21. Physical Natural 1.0


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