Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
Proof Movie Poster Image
Sometimes insightful, sometimes banal. Teens+.
  • PG-13
  • 2005
  • 100 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Characters wrestle with difficult issues (how to determine insanity and sanity), but all mean well.


Discussion of suicide.


Some conversation about sex, a brief, sweetly imaged sex scene.


Some cursing, including f-word.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some drinking and smoking (at a post-funeral party attended by academics), some discussion of drugs (prescribed and illicit).

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the movie includes discussion of suicide and insanity. With the focus on conflicts within a family -- between father and daughter, and between two sisters -- the film includes several tense scenes, arguments, and tearful recriminations. It also features some cursing, a brief and gently rendered love scene, and references to drugs (medical treatments as well as illicit drugs). Characters smoke and drink.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBestPicture1996 February 9, 2015

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 watc... Continue reading
Adult Written bywonder dove October 17, 2013

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 no... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byUmbrellaball December 26, 2018

Harvey Weinstein and Disney do not make a good combination

Reading from the DVD box: From the acclimated director of Shakespeare in Love, proof stars Oscar winners Gwyneth paltrow and Anthony Hopkins along with hope Dav... Continue reading

What's the story?

Following the death of her father, Catherine (Gwyneth Paltrow) begins to worry that she might be insane. Her father, renowned and brilliant mathematician Robert (Anthony Hopkins), for a long time suffered from mental illness and Catherine had dropped out of school to care for her him. Following the funeral, one of Robert's former students, Hal (Jake Gyllenhaal), finds a proof that he believes to have been Robert's, yet Catherine claims it was hers. While Hal seeks to validate the authenticity of the proof, Claire (Hope Davis), Catherine's sister, convinces Catherine to come with her to New York.

Is it any good?

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the relationships among family members -- two sisters and, in flashbacks, father and daughter. How do these relationships affect one another, as the sisters compete for the father's memory? You might also consider the movie's questions about insanity and brilliance: how are these subjective states connected or different, and also determined by social as well as medical standards?

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: September 21, 2019

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