×
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

  • 'St. Bernard Syndicate' Review: A Quietly

    Film Review: 'St. Bernard Syndicate'

    John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan may have received major award nominations this season for their fine work in “Stan & Ollie,” but there’s arguably a superior Laurel & Hardy tribute act to be found in the droll Danish comedy “St. Bernard Syndicate.” As a pair of bumbling losers who turn an already dubious business [...]

  • With PGA win, 'Green Book' is

    Oscars: With PGA Victory, 'Green Book' Becomes Best Picture Frontrunner

    Save for a pair of recent back-to-back discrepancies in “The Big Short” and “La La Land,” the Producers Guild’s Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Theatrical Motion Pictures has been a fairly reliable barometer for the annual Oscar season outcome. At least, ever since both the PGA and film Academy expanded their top categories, sharing the [...]

  • Peter Farrelly30th Annual Producers Guild Awards,

    PGA Awards: 'Green Book' Wins Top Feature Film Award

    “Green Book” has won the Producers Guild’s Darryl F. Zanuck Award as the top feature film of 2018. The 1960s drama-comedy topped “BlacKkKlansman,” “Black Panther” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Crazy Rich Asians,” “The Favourite,”  “A Quiet Place,” “Roma,” “A Star Is Born” and “Vice. More Reviews Film Review: 'St. Bernard Syndicate' Film Review: ‘Dragon Ball Super: Broly’ [...]

  • Netflix HQ LA

    Andy Gruenberg, Veteran Film Executive, Dies at 68

    Veteran film executive Andy Gruenberg, who most recently oversaw theatrical distribution at Netflix, died suddenly on Friday. He was 68. Gruenberg worked on classic films like “Ghostbusters,” “Karate Kid” and “Silverado” while at Columbia Pictures in the 80s and 90s. More Reviews Film Review: 'St. Bernard Syndicate' Film Review: ‘Dragon Ball Super: Broly’ He then [...]

  • Fyre Festival Caterer Receives Thousands in

    Unpaid Fyre Festival Caterer Raises Thousands in Donations on GoFundMe

    As two Fyre Festival documentaries hit the airwaves, a couple who say their credit was ruined due to the Fyre Festival’s lack of payment for their services have raised $54,381 at time of publication on GoFundMe. Elvis and Maryann Rolle wrote on their page that they catered “no less than 1000 meals per day” in [...]

  • DF-10956_R – Gwilym Lee (Brian May) and

    'Bohemian Rhapsody' Producer Confirms Bryan Singer's Reason for Leaving, Says 'No One' Was Attached to Play Mercury

    “Bohemian Rhapsody” producer Graham King provided insight into some of the events surrounding the Golden Globe-winning film Saturday at the Producers Guild Awards Nominees Breakfast, including director Bryan Singer’s departure from the film partway through production. “It’s an unfortunate situation, with like 16, 17 days to go and Bryan Singer just had some issues, his [...]

  • Author Tony Mendez arrives at the

    Tony Mendez, Former CIA Officer Depicted in 'Argo,' Dies at 78

    Tony Mendez, the former CIA technical operations officer who orchestrated the 1980 rescue of six American diplomats from Iran and who was portrayed by Ben Affleck in the Academy Award winning film “Argo,” has died. He was 78. Mendez’s book agent, Christy Fletcher, announced the news on Twitter Saturday morning. More Reviews Film Review: 'St. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content