MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996)
Barbra Streisand (director)
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Love story with Jeff Bridges and Barbra Streisand as math and English professors (respectively) at Columbia University. We get a detailed description of the Twin Prime Conjecture (concerning the number of primes which differ by two) as well as Streisand's opinion of Bridges' calculus teaching. Based on the French film "Le Miroir a Deux Faces".

Contributed by Owen Thomas, TenpageNews

" Bridges plays a math professor with zero stage presence who bores his students silly by lecturing to the board and sticking to his subject (calculus). Barbara Streisand is an incredibly popular English teacher despite her rambling lecture style and gives him a few pointers. We're asked along the way to believe that Bridges doesn't know what a batting average is; Barbara explains it to him (incorrectly). Then Bridges talks about baseball in class and suddenly can relate to the students better. Fortunately, this is a godawful movie all the way around and nobody's going to see it, much less be influenced by its ``math is boring and irrelevant and taught by incompetents'' subtext. I do have to admit that there's much more than the usual amount of math mentioned in the lecture scenes: Bridges mentions implicit differentiation -- ``pretend y is a function of x'' -- and the chain rule, and there's lots of cool looking writing on the board including some polar co-ordinates. There's an ongoing bit concerning prime numbers, specifically the twin primes conjecture. Jeff is excited when Barbara understands what a prime number is so she gives him some cufflinks with prime numbers on them."

More information about this work can be found at us.imdb.com.
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Works Similar to The Mirror Has Two Faces
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Stout
  2. The Twisted Heart by Rebecca Gowers
  3. The Favor by Donald Petrie (Director) / Sara Parriott (Writer) / Josann McGibbon (Writer)
  4. Stand and Deliver by Ramon Menendez
  5. An Invisible Sign of My Own by Aimee Bender
  6. It's My Turn by Claudia Weill (director)
  7. The Five Hysterical Girls Theorem by Rinne Groff
  8. Fear of Math by Peter Cameron
  9. Strange Attractors by Rebecca Goldstein
  10. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
Ratings for The Mirror Has Two Faces:
RatingsHave you seen/read this work of mathematical fiction? Then click here to enter your own votes on its mathematical content and literary quality or send me comments to post on this Webpage.
Mathematical Content:
1.83/5 (6 votes)
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Literary Quality:
3.71/5 (7 votes)
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Categories:
Genre
MotifAcademia, Romance, Math Education,
TopicAlgebra/Arithmetic/Number Theory, Analysis/Calculus/Differential,
MediumFilms,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)