Before Einstein: One Of The Greatest Minds Of All Time – Srinivasa Ramanujan
By Ranny Levy – Founder/President of KidsFirst!
Based on the true story about a mathematician, unknown outside the academic community, it’s a story waiting to be told – almost a century after his death in 1920. Growing up poor in Madras, India, Srinivasa Ramanujan Iyengar earns admittance to Cambridge University during WWI, where he becomes a pioneer in mathematical theories with the guidance of his professor, G.H. Hardy. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Lainey A. comments, “This live-action feature film is incredible! I fell in love with the main characters and enjoyed the true story. This biographical movie is very dramatic.” See her full review below.
The Man Who Knew Infinity
By Lainey Anderson, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
This live action feature film is incredible! I fell in love with the main characters and enjoyed the true story. This biographical movie is very dramatic.
This movie is set during WWI and takes place in India and at Trinity College in Cambridge. Srinivasa Ramanujan (Dev Patel) is 25 years old, lives in India and is recently married. He is an exceptional mathematician that receives mathematical formulas by meditating and in his sleep. His mentor encourages him to send his work to the professors at Trinity College.
Dr. Hardy (Jeremy Irons) is very impressed with Ramanujan’s work and tells him to come to England so Hardy can help create publications of his mathematical formulas. Ramanujan leaves India and travels to Cambridge, England, sadly leaving his mom and loving wife at home. When he arrives at Trinity College, he misses his family and the foods he was accustomed to having at home.
Making things more difficult, some of the professors are jealous of how smart Ramanujan is and are prejudiced because he is Indian. He comes up with many formulas, but Dr. Hardy says that no one will publish his work without proof of how he came up with the mathematical formulas since he only says, “It comes to me.”
Throughout the film, the relationship between Dr. Hardy and Ramanujan develops into a very strong one. Dr. Hardy, in particular, is transformed because of knowing and eventually caring for Ramanujan. Dr. Hardy, a devout atheist, does not believe in God and doesn’t believe in anything that cannot be proven scientifically. He does not understand how his student comes up with all of these formulas and struggles with Ramanujan being as brilliant as he appears to be.
This movie is amazing in so many ways and also very inspirational and emotional. I couldn’t help but fall in love with Dev Patel’s version of Ramanujan’s character. He is so extraordinary and seems like such a nice person who I would want to know and be friends with. My favorite scene is when Ramanujan is meditating and is given another formula. His excitement in receiving this information is contagious.
The settings and scenery are very appropriate for the time this takes place and made me feel as if it could be during WWI. The costumes are well thought out for scenes in both India and Cambridge, and they definitely fit the time period.
I give this film five out of five stars because it is entertaining, informational and has a very interesting plot. I recommend this movie for ages 12 to 18. It may be difficult for younger audiences to follow, but I do believe that people should watch this movie to learn about other cultures and times and, of course, they should enjoy this very inspirational true story. This film is playing in theaters now so, go check it out.