“Maths” is a word that would either fill our minds with excitement or with fear back in school. There was no in-between; you were either really good or you sucked at it completely. No matter how good or bad you are at the subject, it doesn’t keep you from relating to the stories of mathematicians. That’s the beauty of these movies: they do have some maths here and there, but you don’t need to take out your calculators to understand what’s going on in the film. You just have to watch it and feel it, that’s all it takes. So, we’ve compiled some of the most inspiring, thoughtful, and emotional movies out there that are related to maths and can be found on Netflix. And you never know, you might just fall in love with mathematics after watching one of the movies!
5. ARQ (2016)
Produced by John Finemore, Kyle Franke, Mason Novick, and Nick Spicer, ‘ARQ’ is a science-fiction action film that stars Robbie Amell, Rachael Taylor, Shaun Benson, and Gray Powell. The Tony Elliott directorial is set in the near future when the global reserves of oil have depleted, and corporations are forced to fight one another for remaining energy supplies. However, unbeknownst to most of these evil companies, a humble engineer has managed to solve the crisis with his new innovative technology. However, due to his invention, the protagonist is stuck in a seemingly endless time loop and must find a way out. You can watch the movie here.
4. Black Holes: The Edge of All We Know (2020)
Featuring Sasha Haco, Lindy Blackburn, Stephen Hawking, and Andrew Strominger, ‘Black Holes: The Edge of All We Know’ is a science documentary directed by Peter Galison. The film offers viewers an intriguing insight into the mysteries of our known world and the surprisingly accurate predictions of theoretical physics. At the heart of the documentary is the first-ever picture of a black hole that changed cosmology in unthinkable ways. Curious about the complex concepts at the foundation of our world? ‘Black Holes: The Edge of All We Know’ brings some of the most prestigious scientists from around the world to explain everything. You may watch the documentary here.
3. Coded Bias (2020)
Directed and produced by Shalini Kantayya, ‘Coded Bias’ is a documentary film. The movie documents the views of well-known researchers like Joy Buolamwini, Deborah Raji, Meredith Broussard, Cathy O’Neil, and Zeynep Tufekci to look at the ever-growing artificial intelligence and its influence on day-to-day life. The film primarily addresses the worrisome failure of specific face-recognition algorithms that fail to see dark-skinned faces accurately. While offering a deep insight into the present-day problems of technology, the film also highlights the future possibilities. Feel free to check out the film here.
2. Vaathi (2023)
The Indian film ‘Vaathi’ begins in the present day when a group of students discovers a box full of tape records. When these students play the said records, they find that they contain the footage of an exceptional maths teacher interacting with his students. The narrative then shifts back to the past and is predominantly set against the backdrop of the economic liberalization of India. Balamurugan ‘Bala’ Sir (Tamil) / Bala Gangadhar Thilak ‘Balu’ Sir (Telugu) (Dhanush) is a mathematics lecturer who is sent to teach at a government junior college with the promise of a promotion and finds his life’s purpose at the most unlikely of places. He actively changes the perspective the perception of education in the minds of his students and their conservative parents, fights caste discrimination, and bravely stands up against powerful opponents with political and economic influence. You can check out the film here.
1. A Trip to Infinity (2022)
Directed by debutant filmmakers Jonathan Halperin and Drew Takahashi, ‘A Trip to Infinity’ is a fascinating exploration of the concept of infinity through various perspectives, including those of mathematicians, physicists, and even philosophers. The documentary film urges its audience to contemplate the vastness of the universe while questioning whether a human, limited by their mortality, can ever experience infinity in its completeness. In attempting to define a mathematical curiosity, ‘A Trip to Infinity’ approaches the subject itself with considerable authenticity. For instance, it explains a thought experiment by the twentieth-century German mathematician David Hilbert through a cartoon titled ‘The Infinite Hotel,’ in which mathematician Steven Strogatz serves as the narrator. You can watch ‘A Trip to Infinity’ here.
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