5 Math Movies You Need to Watch Before School Starts

Summer is winding down and school is just around the corner, so we thought you might appreciate a list of movies to binge your way out of summer vacation. The twist? All of the films have something to do with mathematics, and how #MathCONnects! (Hey, we’re a national Math competition, did you expect anything less?)

Get your Movie Math on! It’s the cool factor.

Let us know what #math movies we missed and what ones you’ll be adding to your back-to-school binge list! You can leave a comment down below or share your favorite math movies on Facebook @themathcon, Twitter @mathcon and Instagram @themathcon, using the hashtag #mathconnects


  1. Hidden Figures (PG)

The Plot: The story of a team of African-American women who served a vital role as mathematicians at NASA during the start of the U.S. space program.


The Math: Rudy Horne, an associate professor at MoreHouse College, Georgia, worked as a math consultant on the film. He assures viewers that he was (pleasantly) surprised that the production team had done their homework to understand what kind of math was used at NASA.


Why You’ll Love It: According to the film critics, there’s a little bit of everything in this film: entertainment, laughter, inspiration, and characters you can’t help but root for.




  1. Gifted (PG-13)

The Plot: Frank, a single man raising his child prodigy niece Mary, is drawn into a custody battle with his mother.


The Math: At the age of 7, Mary impresses her teacher by doing calculations in her head using the Trachtenberg system, a method of rapid mental calculation.


Why You’ll Love It: This movie raises some interesting questions about giftedness and education while showcasing women in mathematics.




  1. The Imitation Game (PG-13)


The Plot: Mathematician Alan Turing tries to crack the enigma code with help from fellow mathematicians during World War II.


The Math: The Enigma machine was invented by a German engineer and used to transcribe encoded information. The machine and it’s code is famously known as a key element in curtailing German-British hostilities in World War II.


Why You’ll Love It: A film critic from the Detroit News says that The Imitation Game is “…a film about drive, imagination, and how brilliance thrives outside the mainstream.” Add Benedict Cumberbatch’s acting skills and the story of one of history’s math-hero’s and you’ve got a movie worth settling in to.




  1. The Theory of Everything (PG-13)


The Plot: A story about the relationship between the acclaimed physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife.


The Math: Math and Science enthusiasts will be happy to know that the math and science woken through the film are pretty sound. For a more in-depth review of the movie and its portrayal of STEM, check out this blog post on Huffpost.  


Why You’ll Love It: Although the math and science bits of this movie might be exciting, what we love most about this movie is the message behind it all: the hope in humans to overcome challenges.




  1. A Brilliant Young Mind (X+Y) (PG-13)

The Plot: A teenage math prodigy on the autism spectrum finds confidence, friendships and challenges when he is awarded a place on the British team at the International Mathematics Olympiad.


The Math: Although the film is centered around the lead character and other young mathletes, one of our favourite scenes lays out the following problem:


Twenty random cards are placed in a row all face down. A move consists of taking two adjacent cards where the left one is face up and the right one can be face up or face down and flipping them both. Show that this process must terminate. (with all the cards facing up).




Why You’ll Love It: While this movie wasn’t made for the masses, it’s one that you won’t forget. You’ll laugh, cry, and walk away feel grateful for the teachers in your life that encouraged you to do what you love.


Thanks for the math love! #mathcon2018


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