Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Agora (2009)

Links: TVTropes, Wikipedia, IMDB (7.2).

Nrrrgh.  I really wanted to like this historical drama about Hypatia of Alexandria, a real-life teacher in Roman Egypt who was famous for (a) being an early example of a well-respected female mathematician/geometer, and (b) dying gruesomely at the hands of a mob for crossing the wrong Christian religio-political faction.  However, the story takes serious liberties with Hypatia herself: it makes her an atheist instead of a Hellenistic pagan; it makes her care about empiricism, when Neo-Platonists like her rejected the idea that the material universe could teach us anything; and it put her on the verge of discovering Galilean Relativity and Keplerian Planetary Motion 1200 years early, despite no evidence that any Hellenic mind came close to considering elliptical planetary orbits (although they had the facts available to prove it if they'd ever given the idea serious consideration).  To add injury to insult, the film is also trying too hard to be an Important FilmTM, so it ends up being boring instead of riveting, even as a historical drama.  Score: 2 stars out of 4.

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