Polite, earnest stuff, but it never quite adds up to much.
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The film is unashamedly middle-brow and sentimental but it tells such a good story that it is hard to resist.
In the end, The Man Who Knew Infinity never allows itself to transcend the sad irony of such biopics — that people known for thinking outside the box are always given film portraits that refuse to do so.
Highly engaging performances by Dev Patel in the lead role and Jeremy Irons as his curmudgeonly mentor gradually warm up the Cambridge story, but the Indian part feels perfunctory and unconvincing.
We aren’t given this glorious journey of a genius plucked from obscurity as much as we are the trials and tribulations of success. Brown’s film is all about the hardships thrust upon Ramanujan.
The arguments between Ramanujan and Hardy form easily the most absorbing aspect of The Man Who Knew Infinity, as their eloquent clash of wills is shown to be not just intellectual but ideological in nature.
This is the very definition of the kind of movie people complain that “they” don’t make anymore: a modestly budgeted, character-driven drama for adults that doesn’t insult the viewer’s intelligence or lean on shock value.
Irons is the gawky one. His Hardy is a socially inept bachelor who is ill-suited to the role of nurturing mentor and father figure.
Irons’s Hardy steals this film away from its ostensible hero, in part because pulling the shutters down makes him that much harder to know.