“The future of cold is infinite” – The Good Girl, Proof

“I will never be as cold now as I will in the future. The future of cold is infinite. The future of heat is the future of cold.” Proof (D. Auburn)
I hope you all had a wonderful start into the new year. I had a cozy new year’s party with friends that was a bit of a musical mess but fun anyway. Giving in to convention I felt a bit shattered on the 1st of January, not very badly, but enough to take it as an excuse to go on with my movie-marathon. So here’s some more cinematic-chitchat.

Indiana Jones 4 sadly didn’t live up to its predecessors although they got the style and feel amazingly close to that of the old movies. The speed and humor of the action scenes is high but doesn’t come close to what made the first three parts so good. And the end made my stomach turn.

The Good Girl has the first role in which I manage to take Jennifer Anniston serious. She plays the worn-out supermarket treadmill wife Justine really good. Jake Gyllenhaal serves his duty as the nihilist troubled youth type ‘Holden’ as which we’ve gotten to know and like him for in Donnie Darko. E. Mitchell sums his qualities in such roles up nicely: “He satirizes the spaniel-eyed sensitivity that other actors would exploit”.
The Good Girl is a wonderful dark comedy about this certain moment of ‘Is that really it?!” that hits everybody at some point in their lives. Justine partially breaks out of her daily routine by starting a love affair with Holden and soon ‘pays’ for living with secrets and lies, thus being slowly pushed to a moment in which she has decide if she wants to give up her whole life as it used to be and start a new life that could promise hope and the adventure of the unknown or if she rather sticks with her boring but safe and well-known life. With dark humor this movie rubs it under our noses that the desperate notion of feeling trapped in your very own life doesn’t make you much special. It has found a nice way of swinging from funny to desperate moments while overall keeping up a warm feeling of melancholy.

Another Gyllenhaal played in another movie I watched: In a real good riddance move Maggie Gyllenhaal replaced Katie Holmes as Rachel, Batman’s love since childhood. I’m talking about The Dark Knight. This definitely is the best superhero movie I’ve seen so far and despite its two and a half hours playtime it’s not a second too long. Quality dialogues, twisted plot, not too one-dimensional characters, flashy action scenes – there’s hardly anything to complain about. It’s the first movie in a while that I want to watch again before I say more about it. Never thought I’d say that about an actionpacked super hero movie.

The movie I thoroughly enjoyed today was Proof. Gwyneth Paltrow as Catherine does a really good job and Anthony Hopkins as Robert and Jake Gyllenhaal as Hal come close (while Hope Davis stays a bit in their shadow.) Gwyneth Paltrow is one of that type of androgynous women that make me melt away on first sight anyway, along with Sissy Spacek and the total queen-of-hearts in that league: Tilda Swinton. Anyway. Back to Proof. The plot isn’t exactly a crowdpuller: Maths genius turning mad, one daughter gives up her own life caring for him, the other working on her successful career instead and only coming back when their father has died. The daughters have to deal with the death, the left property and themselves while a young maths teacher crams through the left behind notebooks hoping to find a bit of the genius amongst all the scribbled nonsense. It’s an intimate piece of movie that sucked me in. Well-acted and tight, with the right flashbacks and twists at the right points, and leaving enough space for one’s own thoughts. Oh, and Proof has one of those magic movie moments: It’s when some lines of the old professor that are nothing but nonsense in mathematic terms suddenly turn into intense meaningful poetry full of comprehension of the complexity of life when read aloud by Catherine:

“Let X equal the quantity of all quantities of X. Let X equal the cold. It is cold in December. The months of cold equal November through February. There are four months of cold, and four of heat, leaving four months of indeterminate temperature. In February it snows. In March the Lake is a lake of ice. In September the students come back and the bookstores are full. Let X equal the month of full bookstores. The number of books approaches infinity as the number of months of cold approaches four. I will never be as cold now as I will in the future. The future of cold is infinite. The future of heat is the future of cold. The bookstores are infinite and so are never full except in September.”

It reminded me of the time back at university when I studied literature and at the same time I had to take this class in ‘Formal Logic’ for my philosophy studies. Forcing the beautiful ambiguous beast that language is into mathematic formula was so against my conviction that I always sat through the class hours with a deep feeling of disgust. It felt plain wrong. I didn’t get why people were trying to do that when it was clear that language can’t be fully transferred into logic formula and that it might be the most helpful and precious things that get cut away to make it fit.

Have you ever had to do a multiple choice test and you were the only one to whom some of the questions held possible double-meanings and you wished you were allowed to ask some questions in return to clear things up? Welcome to my world. I had that ‘problem’ ever since math story problems popped up in school. It wasn’t that I couldn’t figure out the transition from the problem in the story to the math formula but rather that I seemed to have a nose for possible gaps in their logic. Sometimes people thought I was complicating things on defiant purpose and that kind of shut me up and I started rather answering things wrong than asking questions about the problems.
It’s not that I don’t get the fascination for complex closed systems and formula or complex mathematics, it’s just that to me language is such a great fascinating lively self-propelling construct to understand not just each other but also the world we’re thrown into and this construct only works so good because it is so ambiguous and vague and object to change all the time. It only works because we give in to the chaos that it is. Hope-fueled we simply assume that we will understand each other when talking to each other while deep inside we are aware that we will never really manage to mean the same thing or to make the same thing fully comprehensible to each other, no matter how long and detailed we talk about something. We just come close to it. Infinitely close. Ach, maybe that’s the great romantic core of it that I love so much: To know we can’t ever succeed but to still try again and again.
One must imagine Sisyphus happy indeed.
Let Camus be my Walt Disney.