“An Invisible Sign” Should be Invisible

an invisible sign

I’m going to be honest. I feel a little jipped. I spent an hour and 36 minutes watching An Invisible Sign. Since it’s a math movie, here are some calculations. That’s 96 minutes. That’s 5,760 seconds. That’s 0.0001th of my life right theregranted I live to be 90. Okay, so that’s a tiny amount of time spent viewing this movie, but I still don’t think it was worth it. Between the bad acting, strange storyline, wanna-be horror film components and all too predictable ending, I can say undoubtedly that I could have lived my life without watching this movie.

The 2010 “coming of age/indie” film tells the story of a woman who uses math to overcome her personal problems. It centers around Mona Gray, played by the not-so-talented Jessica Alba, who as a young girl loved math and running, which to me is incredibly unrealistic considering no one actually loves both of those things. Right? Throughout the film, Mona never really grows up as she wears pigtails everyday and dresses like a child. It’s almost as if the costume designer absolutely loved the way Mandy Moore was dressed in A Walk to Remember and wanted to create a less-cute version. Her strange personality is only the beginning of the oddities to take place.

Family plays a component in the film, but not as much as you would originally think. Growing up with a sick father (John Shea)whose illness is never really specifiedMona develops slight OCD so she can be in control of something and not feel so lonely. Perhaps she just desperately wanted to escape her irrational and strange mother, played by Sonia Braga, who is constantly overwhelmed and frankly, rude. The family situation is confusing while being so perfectly normal at the same time. Not that we all have irrational mothers who kick us out of the house because we “don’t have friends” nor do we all have ill fathers, but we all have family situations that are less than desirable. If the film did one good thing, it would be that the family dynamic was so underdeveloped that it worked and was relatable.

Mona’s love and obsession for numbers drive her to take a job as a math teacher even though she doesn’t have a college degree. Oops! Maybe if she did get that college degree, she would have known not to bring an axe to school, decorate it as the number seven and hang it on the wall. Maybe she would’ve known that doing that is dangerous, and maybe the children wouldn’t have threatened to divide each other up into pieces resulting in the axe flying through the air and landing in Mona’s leg. I guess college teaches things that simply having a brain can’t.

monaOh, I almost forgot to mention the love interest. His name is Ben Smith. I know, it couldn’t be more mainstream than that. Played by the sometimes-handsome Chris Messina, Ben is a science teacher at the same school Mona teaches at. Shocker. He sees her and is immediately taken which is confusing to me because she literally looks like a child. A few failed attempts later, and after Mona eats a bar of soap after kissing him, he doesn’t mind sticking around and the two characters fall for each other. I know. You didn’t expect that, huh? I didn’t.

Throughout the entire film, I was trying to figure out if the crazy plot was meant to be funny or if it just flopped so badly that it was comical. It was like a bad Saturday Night Live skit, except no one was in on the joke. And why the movie is titled An Invisible Sign? I couldn’t tell ya. I recommend this movie if you’re having a bad day and want to escape into some weird story for a little while and be perpetually confused. Otherwise, don’t waste your time.