The Man Who Knew Infinity Parent Guide
Brilliance can shine even in the most obscure places.
Parent Movie Review
Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) continues to build a strong acting resume. In the 2015 film, The Man Who Knew Infiinity, he plays the brilliant Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. Although he has little formal schooling, Ramanujan understands numbers and complex computations in a way most highly-trained scholars will never comprehend. But his skills are underappreciated in his homeland where he lives in abject poverty while trying to find work.
Finally, he is taken in by an employer who begins to see the young man’s abilities and eventually helps him connect with Professor G. H. Hardy (Jeremy Irons) at Trinity College in Cambridge. When Ramanujan sets sail for England, he leaves behind a new wife (Devika Bhise) and a way of life in exchange for the chance to be published. But seeing his work recognized by others in the mathematics world isn’t as easy as the confident young man supposes it will be.
Prejudice against his ethnic origin and his innate intelligence runs rampant on a campus where tradition trumps innovation. Even Hardy seems more intent on reining in Ramanujan than promoting his ideas. And the rumblings of an imminent world war don’t help either. On the Cambridge grounds, Ramanujan is subjected to loneliness, cultural and religious intolerance and bouts of bullying from teachers and fellow students. He also succumbs to an illness that leaves him fighting for his life.
Like the time-consuming efforts to prove math theories, this film unfolds in at an unhurried pace. The focus is on Ramanujan’s perseverance and his ability to envision complicated calculations that he credits to his god, another taboo in the world of academia. While the film contains few moments of Hollywood-style action, it offers a strong cast and plenty to engage viewers who are looking for a dramatic story about discrimination. For teens and adults, the film contains brief scenes of war violence, bullying and the results of an illness. Some period smoking, racial slurs and mild profanities are also included.
Today scientists continue to prove and build on Ramanujan’s claims from the early 1900s. But the question many viewers may leave with is this: What could this young man have accomplished with a little support and academic acceptance?Directed by Matt Brown. Starring Dev Patel, Jeremy Irons, Malcolm Sinclair. Running time: 108 minutes. Theatrical release April 29, 2016. Updated October 25, 2019
The Man Who Knew Infinity
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Man Who Knew Infinity rated PG-13? The Man Who Knew Infinity is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for some thematic elements and smoking.
Violence: A character is berated by a teacher. He is later beaten by a group of fellow students. A dead woman is shown following a bomb attack on the city. Brief scenes of wounded soldiers are seen and heard in a hospital. At least one dead soldier is shown. A man attempts to commit suicide. A character coughs up blood and hallucinates as the result of an illness.
Sexual Content: None included.
Language: Infrequent uses of mild profanities are included along with some racial and derogatory slurs.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Professors on campus are shown smoking and drinking in a few scenes.
Page last updated October 25, 2019
The Man Who Knew Infinity Parents' Guide
Ramanujan was a man ahead of his time in many ways. What do you think he might have been able to accomplish if he had been accepted and supported in England instead of shunned and even scorned? How have his scientific theories changed the way we view the world? And yet, why is it important to be able to prove new scientific theories? Is there a balance between embracing new ideas and taking time to prove their value first?
How is the Indian culture represented in this story? What are the challenges that Ramanjan’s young wife faces? How could her life have been made easier by the actions of others around her? What sacrifices are often required of the family of brilliant men or women?
Numbers were like art to Ramanujan. What passions spark your interest? What sacrifices are you willing to make to be really good at something?
Learn more about the real Srinivasa Ramanujan.