Proof (1991 film)

Proof is a 1991 Australian comedy-drama film written and directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse, and starring Hugo Weaving, Geneviève Picot and Russell Crowe. The film was released in Australia on 15 August 1991. It was chosen as "Best Film" at the 1991 Australian Film Institute Awards, along with 5 other awards, including Moorhouse for Best Director, Weaving for Best Leading Actor, and Crowe for Best Supporting Actor.[1]

Film poster
Directed byJocelyn Moorhouse
Produced byLynda House
Written byJocelyn Moorhouse
StarringHugo Weaving
Geneviève Picot
Russell Crowe
Music byNot Drowning Waving
CinematographyMartin McGrath
Edited byKen Sallows
Distributed byRoadshow Entertainment
Release date
  • 15 August 1991 (1991-08-15)
Running time
86 minutes
Box office$2.1 million Domestic; $1 Million Overseas sales


The story concerns the tribulations of Martin (Hugo Weaving), a blind photographer. Through a series of flashbacks, Martin is shown as a child, distrustful of his own mother, and also she describes to him the garden outside his bedroom window. She tells him that someone is raking leaves, but he can't hear the sound and angrily decides she is lying to him.

This childhood experience strongly affects Martin as an adult, as he anticipates that sighted people will take advantage of his blindness to lie to him, or worse yet, pity him. He has become a resentful, vaguely bitter person who spends his days taking some photographs of the world around him, then having various people describe them. He uses these photographs and the Braille descriptions before he stamps on them as "proof" that the world around him really is as others describe it to him. He also takes secret pleasure in rebuking the romantic advances of Celia (Geneviève Picot), his housekeeper. Celia harbors a deep-seated and possibly obsessive crush on Martin, as evidenced by the scores of photographs of him adorning the walls of her flat, and takes out her frustration at her unrequited love by tormenting Martin in small ways, such as rearranging the furniture in his house. Martin keeps Celia around because her love and hatred of him means he knows she can't pity him.

One day Martin encounters Andy (Russell Crowe), and is pleased with the depth and detail with which Andy describes his photos. The two become fast close friends, and Martin soon comes to trust him implicitly. The jealous Celia is threatened by Andy's increasing presence in Martin's life. She seduces Andy, and Martin catches the two in the act, before Andy reluctantly lies to him about it. Celia recognizes this opportunity to foil Martin yet again, and sets up a series of events leading Martin to discover Andy's dishonesty. Martin is devastated and plunged into a deep despair, and breaks off his friendship with Andy. Later on, Andy confronts him, and tries to convince him that everyone has flaws, and shouldn't be judged on such simple terms. "People lie," he tells Martin, "but not all the time. And that's the point." Martin doesn't respond, but is swayed by Andy's impassioned words. Near the story's conclusion, Martin decides to fire Celia, but acknowledges his own role in purposely antagonizing her in their love-hate relationship. Despite his openness she is extremely angry that her efforts have gone to waste, and when asked to return her key to Martin's house, she throws it in the sink (which is full of water).

Finally, Martin asks Andy to describe one last photo for him, one he has kept locked away for years. Martin had previously told Andy that this was the first and most important photo he had ever taken. It is a photo of the garden from Martin's childhood, taken moments after his mother described it on that fateful day. However, Andy's detailed description includes the iconic man raking leaves Martin's mother told him about, that he had rejected for all these years. This revelation provides Martin with his proof, and emotional release.



The film took four years to go from script to finished film.[2]


Box office

Proof grossed $2.1 million at the box office in Australia and $1 million in foreign sales.[3]


Rob Lowing, film critic for the Sydney Morning Herald praised the quality of the script and the acting. Lowing wrote, "Proof is an extraordinary film, another landmark in Australian movie history which proves that, yes, you can have it all: great drama with wit and wisdom, lasting impact and entertainment too."[4]

See also


  1. "Proof". Screen Australia. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  2. Jan Epstein, "Jocelyn Moorhouse: The Gift of Proof", Cinema Papers, November 1991 p4-12
  3. "Rewind: The Making Of The Aussie Classic, Proof 27 July 2016". FilmInk. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  4. "18 Aug 1991, Page 101 - The Sydney Morning Herald at". Retrieved 29 December 2018.
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