The 2015 Toronto International Film Festival concluded this week, with this year's festival hosting premieres for number of science and technology focused films. The Man Who Knew Infinity, which won the Sloan Film Independent Producer's Grant in 2008 and the Sloan TFI Filmmaker Fund in 2015, was one of those films, receiving its world premiere in a TIFF Gala Presentation. Directed by Matthew Brown, the film stars Dev Patel as Srinivasa Ramanujan, the Indian mathematician whose contributions to number theory and infinite series revolutionized the field, as he takes his brilliant and complex theories from his native Madras to Cambridge University. Early reviews have praised Patel and his co-star Jeremy Irons, who portrays British mathematician G.H. Hardy.
In The Hollywood Reporter, Deborah Young applauds Patel's depiction of Ramanujan, writing, "In his meatiest role since he burst on the scene in Slumdog Millionaire, Dev Patel well expresses Ramanujan’s nobility of soul; it would make him stand out from the other students even without his great gift. At first glance the tall, gangly Patel is an odd choice to play a short, stout mathematician. Yet he captures his essential passion, dignity, and overweening conviction that his formulas are right."
Meredith Brody from Thompson on Hollywood concurred with Young, calling The Man Who Knew Infinity "perhaps the most pleasant surprise of the festival for me." She also recognized Patel and Irons for their roles: "the main performances, by an earnest Dev Patel and a resonant Jeremy Irons, were compelling and satisfyingly intertwined."
Over at Screen Daily, Allan Hunter notes that the film "tells such a good story that it is hard to resist...Showing a more subtle side to his talent than his over-enthusiastic comic turns in the Exotic Marigold Hotel films, Dev Patel plays Ramanujan with the giddy excitement of a passionate, impetuous enthusiast exasperated that others cannot keep pace with his buzzing mind." He had even more praise for Irons' depiction of Hardy, noting "Jeremy Irons is perfectly cast as the tweedy, cricket loving, pipe smoking academic...There is a paternal concern and innate decency that is allowed to shine through his emotional reserve."
Lou Lumenick at the New York Post called the film "a thoroughly engrossing story...Jeremy Irons’ best work in years." Though the film is currently seeking US distribution, Lumenick has high hopes: "The Man Who Knew Infinity, which had its world premiere in Toronto, does not yet have a US distributor — but it shouldn’t have trouble finding one."