×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Infinity

Actor Matthew Broderick obviously feels strong emotional and intellectual affinity with Richard Feynman, the brilliant Jewish-American scientist who worked on the Manhattan Project. "Infinity," his directorial debut (in which he also stars), is an original effort to capture the early life of the influential physicist.

With:
Richard Feynman - Matthew Broderick
Arline Greenbaum - Patricia Arquette
Mel Feynman - Peter Riegert
Tutti Feynman - Dori Brenner
Dr. Hellman - Peter Michael Goetz
Bill Price - Zeljko Ivanek
John Wheeler - James LeGros
Young Richard - Jeffrey Force

Actor Matthew Broderick obviously feels strong emotional and intellectual affinity with Richard Feynman, the brilliant Jewish-American scientist who worked on the Manhattan Project. “Infinity,” his directorial debut (in which he also stars), is an original effort to capture the early life of the influential physicist. But honorable intentions do not always translate into interesting pictures, and “Infinity” is a flawed movie that suffers from a weak performance by Patricia Arquette as the scientist’s grand amour and first wife. First Look needs all the help it can get in marketing a problematic, long-in-production film that is unlikely to travel far beyond hard-core fans of Broderick and American indies.

“Infinity” centers almost exclusively on the romantic and marital life of a man who was known in his milieu as “the magician” and went on to win a Nobel Prize in l965. Based on chapters from Feynman’s two volumes of memoirs, the script by Patricia Broderick (helmer’s mother) covers an 11-year span (l934-45) in the private life of an extraordinary individual. Narrated by Feynman, nostalgically looking back on his life, pic begins in Queens in l924, with Richard’s father (Peter Riegert) lovingly nurturing his son’s scientific curiosity.

Story then moves on to l934 and the fateful meeting between Richard and Arline (Arquette), an attractive and popular girl, at a teenage party. Richard is smitten from the first moment he sees her, and a courtship begins, with the two youngsters romantically hopeful about their respective futures he as a scientist, she as an artist.

The tender love story is suddenly challenged when Arline falls ill and is diagnosed with tuberculosis, then a highly contagious and incurable disease. Though they admire her, Richard’s family is understandably upset when he announces his firm decision to marry Arline.

Richard faces an ethical dilemma when Arline’s illness is later diagnosed as Hodgkin’s disease and both families conspire to keep the truth from her. But when Arline overhears her mother crying, she confronts Richard and demands to know the truth; their relationship has been based on honesty, and their motto is , “What do you care what other people think?” which later became the title for Feynman’s second autobiographical volume.

The real-life inspirational saga abounds in emotional subtleties and ironies, but, regrettably, only a few have been translated to the screen effectively. For example, after the wedding ceremony, Richard kisses his bride on the cheek because it’s too dangerous to kiss her on the lips. But the movie never shows how the couple sublimated their sexual drives, apparently without weakening their intimate bond.

Since the story is basically a chamber piece for two, it calls for two great actors and a director with a firm grasp of the deceptively simple but quite demanding material. But “Infinity” misses on both counts.

Arquette registers more credibly in the first part of the film, when she plays an adolescent, her adult portrayal lacking nuance. Neither is Broderick perfectly cast: Though he’s the right age to play Richard, his boyish charm is more suitable for the courtship and student years than for the mature years of a scientist who was apparently always aware of the moral issues involved in working on the Manhattan Project.

Shortcomings in the acting department could have been forgiven if the movie were directed in a more precise and sensitive manner. Either out of reverence for the characters or due to lack of technique, Broderick’s helming is too restrained, resulting in a static, old-fashioned film that only intermittently involves the viewer.

Tech credits are humble, as befits the small-scale production, though film could easily lose 20 minutes of its excessive running time.

Infinity

Production: A First Look Pictures release of a Neo Motion Pictures production. Produced by Joel Soisson, Michael Leahy, Patricia Broderick, Matthew Broderick. Co-producer, Don Phillips. Directed by Matthew Broderick. Screenplay, Patricia Broderick, based on Richard Feynman's books.

Crew: Camera (Deluxe color), Toyomichi Kurita; editors, Elena Maganini, Bill Johnson, Amy Young; music, Bruce Broughton; production design, Bernt Capra; art direction, Jeffrey (Tex) Schell; costume design, Mary Jane Fort; associate producer, Philip Euling; casting, Lisa Bankert. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival, Sept. 6, l996. Running time: 119 MIN.

With: Richard Feynman - Matthew Broderick
Arline Greenbaum - Patricia Arquette
Mel Feynman - Peter Riegert
Tutti Feynman - Dori Brenner
Dr. Hellman - Peter Michael Goetz
Bill Price - Zeljko Ivanek
John Wheeler - James LeGros
Young Richard - Jeffrey Force

More Film

  • Méndez Esparza, Fernando Franco, Villaronga Projects

    Projects By Mendez Esparza, Fernando Franco and Villaronga at Small Is Biutiful

    Antonio Méndez Esparza’s “Que nadie duerma,” Fernando Franco’s “La consagración de la primavera” and Agustí Villaronga’s “3.000 obstáculos” figure among the seven projects to be pitched at Paris’ Small Is Biutiful forum. The closing event for the alternative Spanish film festival Dífferent 12!, Small Is Biutiful takes place June 26, bringing together French distributors and [...]

  • Judi Dench

    Judi Dench Says Works by Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey Should Be Respected

    Veteran British star Judi Dench has said that the work produced by Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey should be separated from the offenses they are alleged to have committed. Both Weinstein and Spacey face charges of sexual assault in the U.S., which they deny, and have been investigated in other jurisdictions as well, including Britain. [...]

  • Karlovy Vary Honorees

    Karlovy Vary Fetes Julianne Moore, Patricia Clarkson, Vladimir Smutny

    The Karlovy Vary Intl. Film Festival Honorees JULIANNE MOORE, Crystal Globe for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema An actress, author and activist, Moore has long earned accolades on her diverse career path. The North Carolina native won a Daytime Emmy with her first major TV role on the soap opera “As the World Turns,” [...]

  • CLOSE QUARTERS – In Disney and

    Korea Box Office: ‘Toy Story 4,' ‘Aladdin’ Share Weekend

    Two Disney releases, “Toy Story 4” and “Aladdin” ruled the weekend box office in Korea. Opening on Thursday, “Toy Story 4” earned $8.54 million from 1.12 million admissions over its four opening days. The animated family adventure film accounted for 32% of the country’s total weekend box office. May release “Aladdin” slipped to second from [...]

  • Lendita Zeqiraj Agas House Movie

    Karlovy Vary Embraces New Voices From the East

    When Karlovy Vary Film Festival’s East of the West competition opened to submissions from the Middle East two years ago, festival artistic director Karel Och noted it was “about time to abandon the political definition of the ‘East of the West’ countries,” long determined by the geographical boundaries hemming in the former Soviet bloc. Though [...]

  • Let There Be Light Movie Marko

    Tough Competition in Spa Town Festival

    When the curtain rises June 28 on the 54th edition of the Karlovy Vary Intl. Film Festival, there will be a conspicuous absence among the 12 titles selected for the main competition: Czech directors. It’s just the second time this decade that the host country has failed to field a single entry in competition, a [...]

  • Diana Rigg, Terence Stamp Join Edgar

    Diana Rigg, Terence Stamp Join Edgar Wright’s ‘Last Night in Soho’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Edgar Wright’s “Last Night in Soho” has rounded out its cast, with veteran actors Diana Rigg and Terence Stamp among the stars signing on for the latest movie from the “Baby Driver” director. Stamp can currently be seen in Netflix hit “Murder Mystery” with Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston. Rigg’s recent roles include Olenna Tyrell [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content