“Maths” is a word that would either fill our minds with excitement or with fear back in school. Some of us were really good at Maths while there were others who struggled with it every single day. There was no in-between; you were either really good or you sucked at it completely. And I’ll be honest, I was never really too good at it either. But still, ‘A Beautiful Mind‘ has been one of the most influential movies for me during my childhood. I looked up to John Nash and his struggles, and the movie taught me how a true genius is made. And that’s the beauty of these movies, they do have some maths here and there but you don’t really 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 also emotional movies out there that are related to maths and can be easily found on Netflix. And you never know, you might just fall in love with mathematics after watching one of the movies! Here’s the list of really good maths movies on Netflix that are available to stream right now.
6. Inside Einstein’s Mind: The Enigma of Space and Time (2015)
This film is an overview of Albert Einstien’s work, putting immense emphasis on Einstien’s theory of relativity that completely transformed what we knew about the laws of nature and time. The movie came out on the 100th Anniversary of the discovery of this theory. The story starts off by showing us how Einstein initiated his thought experiments towards the development of the theory and developed simple yet powerful ideas around relativity, which showed what a brilliant man he was. And then these sparks of ideas later became fire when his breakthrough theory changed everything we had ever known. This one would surely be a highly recommended film that you can watch again and again from time to time.
5. The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015)
There was an Indian mathematician back in the 1910s, whose name was Srinivasa Ramanujan. The man, like the title of the movie suggests, had limitless intelligence. He lived in poverty in Madras but that did not stop him from achieving greatness. He would often write letters to a noted Mathematics professor, G.H Hardy, explaining theories of his own without even knowing that those theories already had a proven solution. But G.H Hardy did recognize the man’s genius and called him to Britain.
In Britain, the two worked in collaboration but the theories of Maths were not his only struggles there, he had to struggle with a lot more things like breaking all of his pre-conceived cultural barriers and also the struggle of leaving behind his young wife, Janaki who did support him throughout. Ramanujan was indeed an ordinary man with the most extraordinary mathematical abilities. The movie is a little slow but does not fail to portray the true struggles of the mathematician and Dev Patel does a great job playing the lead.
4. The Secret Rules of Modern Living: Algorithms (2015)
‘The Secret Rule of Modern Living: Algorithm’ is a documentary that features Professor Marcus Du Sautoywho who breaks down the world of algorithms and reveals their history. He further discusses how algorithms are used right today, in what way and for what purpose. When I was a kid, my father would always say that maths is all around us, just to spike my interest a little. I completely ignored his attempts to get me interested but after watching this thought-provoking documentary, I realized that he was right. There are algorithms even in the simplest and smallest things around us and you indeed cannot run from the world of maths, it is everywhere.
3. Tesla (2016)
This movie is the biography of the visionary electrical inventor because of whom we are able to see the world as it is today. The genius of this man goes far beyond the imagination of an average human being and his creations were nothing but true masterpieces. Even as kids, we read a lot about other big names in science like Newton, Albert Einstien and Thomas Edison but one name always seemed to be missing – Nikola Tesla. The man’s inventions were far beyond impeccable to be missed out on. His personal life too was no less than ordinary, it’s just that a lot of hardships with a combination of bad luck ostracized him. A must watch for those who are not aware of Tesla’s great contributions. The show also offers a dash of truth here and there about his rivalry with Thomas Edison.
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2. Banking on Bitcoin (2016)
This documentary explains how the invention of Bitcoin has been the most destructive invention ever since the invention of the internet. The Bitcoin was being silently developed underground without anyone being aware of it and then it suddenly exploded when it came to the eyes of the public. The documentary also shows how the pioneering leaders of this technology are convincing others to invest in it so that it becomes more of what it was intended to be and can help shape up their lives. The movie gives a thorough and deep idea of what Bitcoins are, what is their history and also a lot about blockchains. If you are even slightly interested in cryptocurrencies and want to know more, this is the place where you should start.
1. Good Will Hunting (1997)
‘Good Will Hunting’ is one of those movies that don’t come by too often. The film is a very touching story of a young man named Will Hunting who works as a janitor at MIT. But he has a gift in Mathematics and is capable of outperforming even the greatest known figures in Mathematics. When one of the professors at the university finds out that he has solved all the equations that he leaves on the board for his students, he tracks him down and makes a deal with him. But Will Hunting (Matt Damon) has bigger issues that need to be resolved before he can achieve greatness with his genius. To solve these underlying issues, Will meets a shrink (Robin Williams) who is very different from all other shrinks who had rejected him earlier. All the main characters of the movie, which includes Will’s best friend (Ben Affleck), his pre-med girlfriend and his shrink, show him hope and direct him towards a path he fears walking on.
The film is a slow-burning flame and the closer you get to this flame and the deeper you look at it, the more you’ll understand its brilliance. On the surface, the movie has a very typical predictable script like any other decent drama. But on repeated viewings, you’ll realize that the movie dwells deep into the concepts of human psychology. The movie was way ahead of its time and does not have one of those typical Hollywood endings. Some people, though, might find it a little hard to sit through the movie because this is one film that forces you to confront and face your deepest fears and insecurities.
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