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The Man Who Loved Infinity

Dev Patel plays Ramanujan, a brilliant mathematician from India who was completely untrained in mathematics but made many contributions to pure mathematics. The film is about mostly about Ramanujan’s collaboration with mathematician G.H. Hardy (played by Jeremy Irons) at Cambridge University over a period of 5 years. The story of Ramanujan is really quite interesting. Hardy and Ramanujan were totally different personalities – Hardy was atheist and committed to rigor of proof; Ramanujan was devoutly religious and claimed to have come up with his theorems using intuition. It is fascinating that Ramanujan essentially taught himself mathematics. Unfortunately, the movie overall doesn’t do the justice to the subject. The film has very little depth and I felt like I was being bounced from story to story without having a full understanding of Ramanujan or his relationship with Hardy.  Much of the childhood context is missing, and the film misses the excitement of some of the theorems he devised (at the end, we are told that his mathematical formulas are being used to explain what happens in black holes!). I give this one a very weak thumbs-up, mostly because performances by the two actors give the film some life that it probably wouldn’t otherwise have. I generally love movies about scientists, so I was very disappointed here. I will be searching for the book. (2016; 2.5 stars)

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