Plot: “The story of the life and academic career of the pioneer Indian mathematician, Srinivasa Ramanujan, and his friendship with his mentor, Professor G.H. Hardy.” (imdb.com)
Director: Matt Brown
Stars: Dev Patel, Jeremy Irons, Toby Jones, Stephen Fry
Genre: Biography, Drama
The Man Who Knew Infinity is a film based on the life of Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, who left India in the 1910s to go to Trinity College, Cambridge. Mathematics professor G.H. Hardy (Jeremy Irons) was astounded when he read self-taught mathematician Ramanujan’s (Dev Patel) theories and invited him to study at Cambridge.
The Man Who Knew Infinity is not only about academic mathematics; it’s also about the cultural differences between England and India, beliefs and attitudes, religious versus non-religious people, pacifists versus warmongers. The film explores the relationship between Hardy and Ramanujan, who both have very opposite views and beliefs. Ramanujan believes that all his theories come from God whereas Hardy is an atheist. However, a mutual respect is formed and, eventually, a short-lived friendship. We also see Ramanujan’s relationship with his family back home in India, his mother and his wife who are waiting for him to return. It is evident that although he is in England, his heart is still with his loved ones back at home.
Dev Patel is truly magnificent, this boy is so good at what he does. If you want to see more of his work, I would recommend Lion, Slumdog Millionaire, and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel + sequel. Jeremy Irons is also exceptional as always; I’ve liked him since I first watched The Lion King (which is still one of my favourite films ever). Stephen Fry, whom I admire so much, had quite a small role but it was really nice to see his face again. Toby Jones as Cambridge professor John Littlewood is great as well. Another terribly underrated actor, in my opinion.
Some people claimed the film lacked depth. Is that true? Well, maybe. I agree that the story could have been explored in more depth but still, I really liked it. There are only so many things you can squeeze in less than 2 hours. I found it really interesting, but maybe that’s because I really like films like that. Two similar films were released a year before The Man Who Knew Infinity: The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game (you can find my review here). Highly recommend both of them.
All in all, The Man Who Knew Infinity is a good film filled with excellent performances. I loved the costumes and the sets. Very interesting to watch and it makes you think about all sorts of things. If you enjoy this type of film as much as I do, I’m pretty sure you will appreciate this one as well. Enjoy!