The Man Who Knew Infinity

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Following the conventions of a more traditional biopic film, The Man Who Knew Infinity is based on the true story of the brilliant mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, played by Dev Patel famous for his breakout role in Slumdog Millionaire, who travels from his native India to study with a famous British mathematician, played by the always terrific Jeremy Irons, at Trinity College within Cambridge University. Completely self-taught with neither formal education or financial means from a foreign culture and religion, Patel’s character must confront the prejudices of the British academic elite, including Irons’ character who acts as his eventual mentor. The film is very much a fish out of water story, a tale in which the main character overcomes adversity to be accepted by others. Patel’s character must leave the only world that he has known, including his new bride and very resistant mother, in order to fulfill his dream of revealing his mathematical formulas to the world. The movie effectively discusses the ideas of conflict, including conflict between belief in God and nature, between colonialism and culture, and between academic elitism and natural genius, all while in the face of military conflict with the events occurring at the onset of World War I. I found the film to be a deeply fascinating look at a man that many have never heard of in a field that many would find difficult to understand. The fairly standard structure of the film as a biopic is overcome by the strength of the performances by Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons.

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