Sometimes when you are looking for something specific, you find something unexpected, and even better, instead. That may have happened today. I was searching for a theater which might be showing the newly released “Love And Friendship”, a Jane Austen movie, for which the previews and clips have looked very good. “Get used to disappointment ” (“Princess Bride” quote). It is actually playing in literally 5 theaters in NY & CA today, so no dice on that front. But while searching, I came across another movie: “The Man Who Knew Infinity”, that was playing in Asheville & Charlotte today. The plot line sounded interesting: a poor newlywed from India sends his mathematical formulas to Cambridge, and is invited there in 1914 (during the outbreak of World War I) to expound on and prove his theories. Now the field of math (especially when it begins to involve letters!) is not my forte, but it turns out that this movie was well worth the 90 minute drive to Charlotte.
“God & Math” could serve as an alternate title for this show. The young Indian mathematician somehow comes up with groundbreaking mathematical formulas, and credits his Hindu gods as his inspiration. Much of the movie involves his adjustments to the English academic scene at Cambridge, and the proof of his genius. But the (virtually spoken) conclusion of the movie is that although one might look past the Indian’s Hindu god, there must be a real Mind behind the patterns and structure which exists in our universe, reflected in the field of mathematics. To quote my wife, who was pontificating one day to our homeschooled son on how God is reflected in mathematics: “To not love math is to not love God!” Although I personally fall somewhere short of that sentiment, I do get the idea. The mathematical patterns in creation are a powerful witness to the Creator. So although this is not an overtly “Christian” film, in the “God Is Not Dead” sense, it has yet — if unintentionally — a strong evangelistic voice. It strengthens one’s Christian worldview, and would be a great faith conversation starter if one invited a non-Christian friend along.
I would give “The Man Who Knew Infinity” at least a 9 out of 10 rating. It was well-done in every way: lead characters Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons were super in their very distinctive roles, and the supporting cast — which in my view often makes or breaks a movie — was top notch as well. There was NO nudity or sexuality; there may have been cursing but I do not specifically recall any; the PG-13 rating was undoubtedly for smoking, and for a bit of racist violence against the Indian. If you are looking for a good movie to watch this weekend, and “The Man Who Knew Infinity” is playing where you are, treat yourself to a wonderful, thoughtful, film. I have two weeks now to wait for “Love & Friendship” to arrive in our area — but it’s had a high bar set today by the show I found instead!