The Man Who Knew Infinity

Despite being an average film, numerous splendid performances make it worth hunting down.

The Man Who Knew InfinityDirector Matt Brown’s The Man Who Knew Infinity should be seen for two reasons. The first deals with the fact that it is based on a true story about an East Indian mathematical genius, Srinivasa Ramanujan, who was invited to Trinity College in England on the eve of World War I. The second reason is that the movie stands out because of some endearing performances by major English actors that capture your attention despite a weak plot.

I’m giving nothing away when I say that Mr. Ramanujan faced considerable prejudice from numerous English professors, and it was exacerbated by the fact that he was living in London from the outbreak of World War I to its conclusion. Unfortunately, the film becomes a bit repetitive as you deal with basically the same encounters each day played out in a slightly different manner.

However, as noted above, the movie contains some great performances by tremendous actors, and it begins with Dev Patel as the young Indian math guru. Mr. Patel is singularly dedicated to getting his mathematical formulas published, and he is not a guy who readily accepts no as an answer to any of his questions. It is worth remembering Mr. Patel’s sterling performances in both of The Exotic Marigold Hotel films (2012, 2015) and the spectacular Slumdog Millionaire (2008).

On top of that, the film finds room for distinguished actors like Jeremy Irons, Stephen Fry, Toby Jones and Jeremy Northam. Mr. Irons plays G.H. Hardy, the professor who serves as Ramanujan’s mentor. Mr. Hardy is not an easy man to call a friend, and his evolving relationship with his Indian student provides the heart and soul of this movie.

In any event, I must say that The Man Who Knew Infinity falls into a similar category as the recent Hemingway film and Tom Hank’s Saudi Arabian adventure. While none of them are a waste of time, the inevitable inclination is to let them escape the theater so that you can hunt them down at home.