Parents' Guide to


By Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Sometimes insightful, sometimes banal. Teens+.

Movie PG-13 2005 100 minutes
Proof Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 14+

Math rules in this semi-faithful adaptation

For my Reading Drama class I had to read David Auburn's "Proof," a frequently funny story about grief and identity. We were also required to watch John Madden's film version and see what differences were made for Hollywood. I'm happy to report that even though the movie can't quite live up to the excitement of reading the play and that great twist that comes halfway through the plot (it's a lot cooler when it goes to curtain than in the movie where it just transitions to a flashback), it still delivers. Auburn co-wrote the adaptation, and much of his snarky, quick dialogue exists in the film. But Paltrow plays Catherine more as a downer than a woman with razor sharp wit like in the play. Gyllenhaal is the real standout here, making Hal, Catherine's love interest, a genuinely likable character you come to enjoy. Supporting roles like this and "Brokeback Mountain" were likely the reason for his catapulting success. If you like your dramas more on the talky side, with a little humor dashed in and some okay character study, go see the movie.

This title has:

Too much swearing
age 13+

Excellent film!

I first saw Proof a long time ago when it first came out. I rented it and liked it. I haven't seen it again until recently and I appreciate it even more now. It's a great film with a terrific cast and excellent acting! This is not a chick flick! It centers around 27 year old Catherine (Gwyneth Paltrow) who dropped out of school to take care of her mentally ill father and mathematician Robert (Anthony Hopkins) whom she seems to be very close with. When her father passes away, one of his students Hal (Jake Gyllenhaal) takes a liking to Catherine and later finds a proof of a mathematical anthem that has never been solved that he believes was her fathers, but Catherine argues that it was hers from when her father taught her math. They start a sweet romantic relationship. Meanwhile, her overbearing sister Claire (Hope Davis) comes to visit to help settle their fathers affairs, but Catherine hasn't seen her in a long time and doesn't particularly like her. But Claire only wants one thing and hopes to leave everything behind and take Catherine away with her to live in New York. The story is very interesting yet sometimes sad and emotional. The language is pretty harsh for a PG-13 and contains about 2 f-words, plenty uses of sh*t, sexual slang words like d*ckhead and getting laid, hell, @ss and @sshole and more than a couple [email protected]'s. Violence includes brief talk of suicide, a character knocks down books out of anger, two sisters bicker a lot - one being a big yelling argument. Sexual content is mild with one innocent sex scene followed by mild sounds, the scene is quick. There's drinking at a funeral, a character appears tipsy. Male student of Robert's talks about drugs in one scene. Overall, very enjoyable drama for the 13+ range!

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (1):

This complex film presents a knot of questions, twisted up inside a knot of delicate performances and a fragmented narrative. Based on David Auburn's long-running play (on Broadway and on London's West End, among other venues), John Madden's PROOF poses questions of trust and doubt, grief and guilt, ambition and selfishness, as well as the sisters' competition and resentment. Catherine is also presently dealing with Hal (Jake Gyllenhaal), an aspiring mathematician and drummer in a local band, who comes by to sort through Robert's papers, hoping, perhaps, to find a lost instance of genius, something recorded during a rare lucid moment, a last sign that his madness was not utter and all-consuming, even as it may have seemed that way.

The film's central, concrete problem is the revelation of the proof, not quite elegant but exceptional and potentially math-world-changing (again), hidden away inside a locked drawer in Robert's home office. Flashbacks reveal that he and Catherine spent some time working on a problem together, separately, but at the same time, each writing out pages of proof, working late into nights and bent over desks and tables in deep concentration. As their handwriting is similar, it's unclear whether the newly discovered proof is Robert's or Catherine's. She claims it is hers, but neither Hal nor Claire quite believes it.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: September 16, 2005
  • On DVD or streaming: February 14, 2006
  • Cast: Gwyneth Paltrow, Hope Davis, Jake Gyllenhaal
  • Director: John Madden
  • Studio: Miramax
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run time: 100 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: some sexual content, language and drug references
  • Last updated: February 25, 2023

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate