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The Man Who Knew Infinity - Film Review

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Published April 20th 2016
1729 The Hardy-Ramanujan Number
movie review, film review, the man who knew infinity, jeremy irons, dev patel, actors, british film festival, bbc first, palace cinemas
Images © Edward R. Pressman Film Xeitgeist Entertainment Group (in association with) Animus Films Exit Strategy Productions (Music Services) Firecracker Entertainment (India Production Services)

This film serves as a biography of genius mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan (Dev Patel - Slumdog Millionaire). Based on true events, a poor young man from Madras - India, with exceptional mathematical abilities, finds himself at Cambridge, involved in making ground-breaking discoveries.

It's not an easy path getting there, suffering poverty and later poor health, but the bigger challenge was getting someone to believe in him. With no formal training in mathematics, he was thrown out of many institutions he applied to, and finally went to work as a clerk so he could support himself.


It's only when opportunity and persistence brings him under the tutelage of professor G. H Hardy (Jeremy Irons) that his true genius is recognised and applauded. They later work together to challenge an established theory, and he's eventually recognised and bestowed a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1918. One of the youngest Fellows in the history of the Royal Society at the age of thirty one.

The road to success however was paved with the hardships of a class system, culture shock, the shadow of war and of course racism. His sacrifice included leaving family and a wife behind to live in a country far from home.

movie review, film review, the man who knew infinity, jeremy irons, dev patel, actors, british film festival, bbc first, palace cinemas

This film captures all of the above, yet does not get involved in too much detail about Ramanujan's journey. One minute he's in poverty, then without too much ado, he finds a friend in the workplace that leads him to shine, through his trailblazing theories.

They do say sometimes genius has no commonsense, and it was difficult for me to comprehend the malnutrition he brought upon himself by not being able to nourish himself as a vegetarian for various reasons.

If you're a maths hound, you'll probably take more delight in the discussions of mathematical theories, complete with jargon. Though not a maths enthusiast, I still found the discoveries of this genius portrayed on the big screen, lacking in excitement.


It was a well enough paced movie to watch, and its content acceptable, but Dev Patel lacked the magic and emotion to make the role more three dimensional.

Luckily, veteran Jeremy Irons comes equipped with all the nuances and lack of emotions required to play the professor who does not believe in God, nor lends himself to forming close relationships. Like the exceptional actor that he is, he later manages to convey a pandora's box of hidden, then rediscovered and acknowledged feelings that's bound to bring a tear to your eye. It did to mine.


This film is due to be released in the first week of May 2016. You can read about Ramanujan via many websites, including Wikipedia. Keeping in mind our universe is of many cultures, some snippets of facts may well surprise you.

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Why? The Man Who Knew Infinity - the life of genius mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan
When: Release date 5 May 2016
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