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Math in the Movies: Revolutionary Road

This past week I watched Revolutionary Road, the Oscar nominated 2008 film directed by Sam Mendes. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as a highly dysfunctional couple named the Wheelers, who live in 1950s suburban Connecticut. For those of you who may not have seen this feel-good picture, here’s a trailer:

The trailer doesn’t address the question of what this film has to do with mathematics. The answer lies in the character of John Giving, a “mathematician” played in the film by Michael Shannon (who turned in an Oscar-nominated performance).

We first hear of John Giving from his mother, who informs Mrs. Wheeler that her son has a brilliant mind, as evidenced by his PhD in mathematics, but that he has been institutionalized, and his doctors have suggested that it would be good for him to go out and make some friends. This introduction did not bode well . . . → Read More: Math in the Movies: Revolutionary Road