The Man Who Knew Infinity tells the fascinating story of the life and academic career of the pioneer Indian mathematician, Srinivasa Ramanujan (Slumdog Millionaire‘s Dev Patel), and his friendship with his mentor, Professor G.H. Hardy (Jeremy Irons).
It’s amazing how films can introduce you to such amazing historical topics that were heard of by very little before. The story of the brilliant Indian mathematician Ramanujan was not known to me before I watched the film, but I was so captivated by the brilliance of an unappreciated poor man ultimately changed the knowledge of professors and universities around the world. Dev Patel is striking as the lead role, demonstrating great talent through his emotion and fantastic delivery of his lines. Patel captures the soul of his character excellently. Irons shares plenty of screentime with Patel in the film, and delivers an even more wonderful performance as the only who truly appreciated and understood Ramanujan’s marvelous intellect. Irons is strongly able to convey every one of Hardy’s emotions throughout the film, sometimes even without delivering any lines. The chemistry between the two actors is the film’s true heart and soul, and it’s what carries the movie like nothing else. Their chemistry is so touching and convincing, and you really understand how these two characters really changed each other. Although the story tends to drag at first, especially whenever these two actors aren’t on screen together, the way the film is executed is ultimately strong and effective, thanks to the amazing gravity of the topic and the groundbreaking cast and writing.
The Man Who Knew Infinity is a very underrated and unappreciated film that deserve some more attention than what it currently has. Critics in the U.S. have not liked it outside of the leading cast, and I don’t agree with what they’ve been saying about the rest of the film. Critics did not like the pacing, directing, or the way this film was shot, and I believe the reason they are criticizing it so much is because it didn’t bring them what the average Hollywood film would deliver. I’m not going as far as explosions or effects, but almost every film that we release is expected to have constant entertainment and almost no pauses. I feel like that for a film, this one was very well made. It’s a British film, so it did not feel the need to provide strong intensity throughout and cast the most popular stars around (the way films like The Social Network and Steve Jobs would do), and instead this movie only feels the need to be a great biopic and do justice to its topic. I feel like critics were let down by their expectations for the film and not the film itself. The film provided me with plenty of great dialogue and story, which is all I really needed from the film, rather than loud conversations, a fast plot, and well-known Hollywood stars filling up the cast.
The Man Who Knew Infinity has a captivating story, cast, and topic, that may not entertain you as much as it will impress you, but it’s definitely an underrated film from this year that you should watch if it’s available anywhere near you.