Sunday, September 25, 2005

Proof - Movie Review

Proof (2005)

For of those of you who aren’t theatre fags, “Proof” is the big screen adaptation of the Pulitzer prize winning play . . . “Proof”. Nice how that works out, ain’t it? Anyway, this chamber piece, if you will . . . and you will, tells the tale of two daughters living in the shadow of their recently departed math genius father, and his legacy of brilliance and insanity. And who can’t relate to that? Especially when the love interest is played by JAKE GYLLENHAAL!!! ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
We’re back. Please excuse us. We passed out at the mere mention of his name. Our future husband, JAKE GYLLENHAAL!!!, as we mentioned, plays the young math “geek” who idolized the dead wacko played by Anthony Hopkins. The daughters, as if you didn’t know, are portrayed by the WASPy double sucker punch of Hope Davis and Gwyneth Paltrow. They’re like matching ivory bookends, those two. Gwynnie gets the choicest role of the two, portraying the cracked bookend Catherine a potential mathematical wunderkind in her own right, or is she? Bum, bum, BUM!!!! Oh, the suspense. Could this razor cheekboned beanpole with limp hair really be the next Emmy Noether? Is she teetering dangerously close to Anne Heche-ville? (pun intended for those theatre fags in the know) Do we really care? And why isn’t JAKE GYLLENHAAL returning our calls? That’s what we all really want to know. It’s not stalking, JAKE, we prefer to think of it as flirting. With a telescope, digital camera and travel size container of lube.
Anyway, back to the flick at hand. It seems that nutjob, er, Daddyums has kicked the bucket. Sending poor Catherine into a downwards spiral that would make Sylvia Plath green with envy, if she wasn’t already blue from gas fumes. And yes, the Plath mention was deliberate. Now we come to the moment in our review where we must mention that while we think Gwyneth has been unfairly treated by the stalkarazzi, we also feel she is partly to blame for placing that Oscar up her ass instead of the mantle. Gwynnie, honey, if you’re not good at interviews then don’t do them! Be mysterious. It worked for Garbo. We’ve enjoyed her work in the past. No, not her Oscar winning role in “Shakespeare in Love” – she was fine, but honestly, she robbed Cate Blanchett of her deserved first Oscar win. (For “Elizabeth” – we just know in our heart of hearts that Cate must wake up some days in a daze, screaming: “I lost to that?”) Back to Paltrow. You are a fine young actress. Your work over the years has proven it to us. Most notably in your pre-famous days in the wonderfully moody “Flesh and Bone” - 1993, and for your meticulous exploration of the mystery of Sylvia Plath in . . . well, “Sylvia” - 2003. We happen to think that you and your co-star in the latter flick, that hunk of blue eyed Brit, Daniel Craig, were both deserving of some major awards attention. We grieve for your loss.

Back to the “Proof” at hand. So, Gwynnie begins to skip around Margot Kidder-land, and retreats into herself once darling sis, Claire arrives in her pink hued uptightness. Claire enters less like a breath of fresh air, and more like Martha Stewart with a mission. Before you can say, “It might not be a good thing”, Claire is ‘GASP’ forcing Catherine to take a shower and eat some breakfast! Does she know what that would to do to her Stella McCartney gown she was planning to wear to next year’s Oscars? It’ll completely kill the look. Anyway. Catherine resists. Claire bitches. JAKE GYLLENHAAL!!! Broods mysteriously in the corner looking all scruffy and buff in his low hung jeans that just graze the muffins, and gives us hopes of catching the full meal deal underneath. To no avail. Throw in a few flashbacks to Dribble cup Daddys final year, slowly deteriorating and yet still managing to produce bookshelves worth of what appear to be notebooks filled with mathematical proofs. Proofs that could unlock the math mysteries plaguing humanity for centuries. Like how to afford a four story Victorian mansion on a Medicare plan for mental patients. As Claire prepares for the proper funeral for Diddums, Hal makes the moves on Catherine . . . and suddenly love is in the air. But not in Catherine’s hair. Has the girl never heard of a volumizing shampoo and conditioner? Kiehl’s™ has lovely things. Oh, well.

What is important, is the relevation that there is one notebook of Daddys tucked away behind a locked drawer in his desk. And Catherine has the key, but it turns out to be only Pandora’s Box for the hot math “geek” JAKE GYLLENHAAL!!! A cursory glance reveals that yes indeed, this could be the big one. No, not JAKE’S, sadly we’ll have to wait for “Bareback Mountain” for that scene. Oh, God, we pray there are big ones in that! No, no, get your minds out of our gutter. This mystery proof could unlock a math riddle that would have Chinese teenagers wetting their beds three times a night, as opposed to the usual two. But who actually wrote it? By the time it was supposed to have been written, Daddio was somewhere between Tom Cruise ranting and Idi Amin crazy. Could Catherine really have written it, as she claims? We dare not spoil the ending. We’ll just leave you with these parting round-ups.
1. Gwyneth, you really shine as the whackadoodle, but charming daughter who has thrown propriety to the wind and opted to go her own way.
2. Hope, your tight lipped and upturned waspiness is letter perfect, down to the slight curl at the end of your bob. Although, you are beginning to own these roles, so you might wanna step back before you officially become Agnes Moorehead. And that’s the part that Patricia Clarkson was born to play – so, step off!
3. Anthony Hopkins, we adored you from your first film role as the young King Richard the Lionhearted in “The Lion in Winter” opposite Katharine Hepburn’s third Oscar winning role, and the great Peter O’Toole in his third Oscar nominated role (he should have won). We championed you in “The Elephant Man”, where you co-star John Hurt stole the honors and Oscar nom, and even applauded you through your own Oscar winning role in “The Silence of the Lambs”. Although, let’s be honest Tony. You were supporting in that, no Lead Actor – for fucks’ sake you were barely in it for longer than twenty minutes. That damn Academy! But now, as you have settled into the King Lear era of your life. Well, if you listen carefully . . . . it’s the theatre Gods above calling you home. Go. Quietly and quickly. We love you, but we’re tired of the shtick.
4. JAKE GYLLENHAAL!!! You are perfect. You make our mouths water, heart palpitate, knees knock, and our sphincters pucker. You are also a pretty good actor, when we’re not completely blinded by your hotness. (Sidenote to costume designer Jill Taylor: Hope was perfectly decked out as some New York City wannabe style maven, Tony, suitably grizzly as the aged prof, and Gwyneth believably downplayed, even when forced to wear that new dress that Hope forces her to buy for the funeral – we love the low sling back heel and kicky jean jacket to soften the starchiness. But, Jill, you really let us down when it came to JAKE. We think he should have been dressed in much tighter jeans. Clinging muscle tee, and after he’s done the deed with Gwynnie, he should have remained naked throughout the entire movie. Just saying.)
Oh, yeah. The movie. It was directed by John Madden, who directed Gwyneth to her Oscar in “Shakespeare in Love”, and helped her trod the boards in the London production of this very same story. And he does a mighty fine job of opening the play up cinematically without resorting to much chicanery. The production design is more than suitably ‘academic”. We too grew up in the Academia world of college professors. Our parents didn’t go insane, they were more like . . . well, go rent “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” if you really must get a feel for our childhood. Great flick, too!

And so in closing, while we were not moved to orgiastic heights (at least when JAKE GYLLENHAAL wasn’t onscreen), we were moved by the family drama, and outstanding acting. Not a bad way to waste a couple of hours, if we say so ourselves. And we always do. Go ahead. Spend the money. Just stay away from our future husband, JAKE GYLLENHAAL!!! We will cut you bitches up if we find you within our allotted 100 yards restraining order distance. Bless you all!

Gwyneth Paltrow as Catherine
Jake Gyllenhaal as Hal
Hope Davis as Claire
Anthony Hopkins as Robert

Directed by John Madden
Written by David Auburn & Rebecca Miller
Based on the play “Proof” by David Auburn
Film Editing by Mick Audsley
Cinematography by Alwin H. Kuchler
Costume Design by Jill Taylor
Production Design by Alice Normington
Original Music by Stephen Warbeck
Art Direction by Grant Armstrong and Keith Slote
Set Decoration by Barbara Herman-Skelding