‘Marguerite’s Theorem’ Ending Explained & Movie Recap: Did Marguerite Prove Goldbach’s Conjecture?

The life of a mad mathematician is never simple, especially when they’re lost trying to find an answer to an unsolved problem. Ella Rump plays Marguerite Hoffman, a genius who’s obsessed with solving Goldbach’s conjecture. Written in such a way that it’d almost fool you into believing it’s based on a real-life personality, Marguerite’s Theorem is a missed opportunity. Watching a mathematician scribble all over her apartment is only a good watch when you reach a conclusive ending. This movie, however, is like trying to figure out a math problem without a solid grounding in the subject.


Spoilers Ahead

What happens in the movie?

Marguerite Hoffman, a PhD student at the ENS, is the biggest scholar at the university. Her supervisor, Dr. Werner is working on the Szemeredi proof for the big science conference in Lausanne. Werner takes another scholar under his wing, Lucas Savelli. Lucas dumped Oxford to work with Werner on Szemeredi. Soon after, Marguerite presented her thesis on arithmetic progressions in integers’ finite sets. When she’s done proving her theory, Lucas counters it and invalidates the whole proof. Disheartened, Marguerite runs off to deal with the failure, but she can’t get over it. Three years of work seem like nothing after this, and Werner drops her from his research and advises her to take up a new thesis under a new supervisor. Marguerite leaves the university and decides to live in solitude while life once again pushes her back to mathematics.


How does Marguerite meet Noa?

Spending nights in hotels starts a new life for Marguerite, and she starts to look for a job. In the training center for a job in fashion, Marguerite finds a fault in their survey. One of the other trainees, named Noa, supports Marguerite and argues that they shouldn’t have to follow a dumb statistic that doesn’t make sense. Noa leaves the session, and Marguerite gets kicked out. The two ladies start to talk, and they instantly connect. Noa wants a roommate, and Marguerite pays her six months of rent in advance. Noa is a dancer who is the polar opposite of Marguerite, but they get along well. She hears Noa having a climax one night, and that tickles her imagination. She’s never experienced one before, and Noa asks her to find a guy who’d be into Marguerite’s type (the class whiz). 

Can Marguerite come out of her shell?

Hanging out with Noa proves to be good for Marguerite. She starts to be outgoing and social, and for the first time in her life, she isn’t immersed in mathematics. In the club, she sees a pretty guy and decides to follow him. They end up in the guy’s bedroom, and Marguerite finally gets her own experience of climax. Her life is interrupted once again by Lucas, who calls her to ask her permission to publish an article on Szemeredi with Werner. Marguerite denies it and hangs up on him. But Werner rats her out to her mother and tells her that Marguerite has left the university. Marguerite pays a visit to the selfish man and tells Werner that he can publish his article, and now he should stay away from her. On her way out, Marguerite slaps Lucas, and she storms off. 


How Did Marguerite get back into mathematics?

Marguerite stumbles upon her landlord, Mr. Kong, who says her rent is pending. When she asks Noa about it, Noa explains that she used it to enroll in a dance course at Montpellier. Desperate for quick cash, Marguerite heads downstairs to a room where Chinese gentlemen play Mahjong. Mahjong is a Chinese version of rummy played with tiles instead of cards. She wins every hand until they have enough cash to pay the rent. The calculations she uses in Mahjong help her realize that the tiles are not very different from formulas, and she heads right back up to start working again. Noa finds Marguerite with a pen and a notepad, and she’s back on track. She uses the tricks she used in Mahjong to try a new proof. When she explains her findings to Noa, she leaves her in peace and buys a beer for her. She starts to look for a path that proves Szemeredi. Marguerite moves up the ladder in the Chinese community and goes to big places to play Mahjong, and the more she plays, the more she progresses in her mathematics. 

Why does Marguerite approach Lucas?

Marguerite finds out that Werner has proved Szemeredi, and he’s going to present his work at the Lausanne conference with Lucas Savelli as his assistant. Marguerite had already proved it, and it doesn’t matter to her much. She goes to visit Lucas and asks him to come over to her place for help with Goldbach. Lucas is astonished when he sees all the sums on the board, and Marguerite shows him a new method to prove Goldbach. She tells him that she’d like to present some proofs at Lausanne, and he’d have to do it for her. She convinces Lucas to work with her on this and not to disclose anything to Werner. 


How do Marguerite and Lucas grow close?

Marguerite and Lucas start to work on Goldbach day and night. They figure that in order to succeed, they have to use Euler function and isolate the factor. Marguerite only focuses on work, and she isn’t interested in how Lucas feels while working with her. When Lucas asks her about Yanis, she replies that it’s for recreational purposes. But Marguerite’s stiffness spooks Lucas, and her cold and distant treatment upsets him. Marguerite understands his point of view and asks him out to dinner. Marguerite opens up about how her father left when she was young, and that gave her insomnia. The reason she liked math was because it was a way to solve tangible problems that had solutions. When she came across Goldbach’s pyramid, she saw an unsolved problem—a problem so complex and magnificent that she’d spend her life trying to solve it. For her, solving Goldbach is a way of establishing order in infinity. Lucas also gets to know about her mastery over Mahjong. Lucas had an idea about Marguerite, and it wasn’t that of a girl who hooks up, solves math, and plays mahjong in illicit gaming groups. The two come closer after this, and they start progressing faster than before.

How does Werner find out about Lucas and Marguerite?

Marguerite and Lucas’ relationship develops as an unspoken dynamic. Both of them have feelings for each other, and they’re on the edge of confessing most of the time. Their closeness shows in public too, and Werner spots his assistant with his former student in the library. Lucas figures that if they use the distribution of prime numbers to find a lower bound and maximize sieve functions, they’d move a few steps ahead. Marguerite watches Lucas working on it, but the sound of the doorbell interrupts her drooling session. Werner arrives to confront her, and he sees Lucas’ trumpet lying on the couch. He knows that they’re working on Goldbach, and he thinks Marguerite is not cut out for it. Werner warns her to be careful in her pursuit, as mathematicians are often so deep into finding the answers that they lose themselves. Werner says mathematics can be more dangerous than gambling. He tries to be the bigger man and says whoever proves Goldbach, he’d be happy for the sake of mathematics’ progress.


Why does Marguerite stop seeing Lucas?

The nerds have run out of space to write, so they move every piece of furniture to make space on the walls. They paint the walls black, and both their heads are full of ideas, so it’s hard for them to wait until the paint dries off. The tension between them gets stronger, and they finally sleep together. The next day, Lucas finds out that Werner has dropped him and postponed his thesis. He returns to Marguerite but doesn’t say anything to her, and Noa comes back from Montpellier. She’s surprised to see the state of the apartment, and everywhere she looks, it’s just equations. Marguerite doesn’t pay attention to her, as she’s really invested in her math, and it seems like she and Lucas have proven Goldbach. They go to sleep together at their happiest, but fate has something else in store for them. Marguerite comes back to double-check if they’ve actually solved it, but it turns out the same old parity problem shows up. Their proof opens up way more boxes, and it just looks good on paper. Goldbach’s conjecture can’t be solved if they don’t come up with a new method, and since Lausanne is in two weeks, they don’t have enough time. She’s heartbroken that she can’t beat Werner in the race to proving Goldbach, but Lucas tells her it’s herself she’s doing it for, not for anything else. Marguerite gives in to the sadness and breaks up with Lucas, which is unprecedented, right? After all the struggles, Lucas is sad to see that’s how the relationship ends between them. He tries to make her understand that they’d solve it if they tried, but Marguerite refuses to be around him anymore. She thinks that Lucas has everything he wants, but she doesn’t. Before leaving, Lucas tells her that he sacrificed his PhD with Werner to work with her. Marguerite goes back to playing Mahjong, but this time she starts losing hand after hand. She accuses the other players of cheating, but it’s nothing but her own frustration over not knowing the right moves. She goes into a manic episode and starts solving the problems on every piece of paper she could write on. The toilet paper and windows are her last resort to writing, and she does that. Noa comes back to see she has completely lost it, and she calms her down before sending her on a vacation to her mother’s. 

What happens when Marguerite visits her mother?

Marguerite finally finds a quiet place where she isn’t thinking about solving Goldbach. Her mother and she reconnect after their earlier spat over her leaving the university. Marguerite tells her that she thinks she’s in love. She thinks more about Lucas than mathematics, and that’s huge coming from the ‘mathematician in slippers.’ Her mother understands what she’s going through and tells her that even though her own husband’s departure was a wreck, she spent the happiest moments of her life with that man. Marguerite sees a piece of paper with Goldbach’s pyramid drawn on it lying on the ground. She calls Lucas and tells him that she’s taken her mother’s car and that she’s coming to see him. She says that when she found the drawing and saw it upside down, everything made sense. Marguerite’s pursuit of proving Goldbach isn’t over, and her love for Lucas isn’t gone either. 


How did Marguerite prove Goldbach’s conjecture?

In Marguerite’s Theorem‘s ending, Marguerite finds Lucas and runs straight to a room with a board. She’s discovered a way to control the number of solutions. Meanwhile, Werner overhears chatter amongst his peers that a girl is working on the proof of Goldberg, and apparently she’s close. Werner runs to see what his apprentice is up to. The mad mathematician keeps solving on the board using the Goldston-Pintz-Yildirim method. The auditorium is now filled with scholars looking on as Marguerite finishes her work and proves Goldbach’s conjecture. She receives a defiant ovation, even a man like Werner is impressed enough to clap for her work. Lucas leaves the stage for her and leaves the room. Marguerite loves the recognition she’s getting after years of hard work, but she doesn’t let the love of her life go. As Lucas is exiting the campus, Marguerite comes running to him from behind, and they kiss. 

Marguerite’s Theorem is a good ride for people who don’t know the first thing about advanced mathematics, including yours truly. One might blame Anna Novion’s direction for using the majority of the screen time to show the lead characters doing math, but how else are great discoveries made? Jacques Girault’s cinematography is exquisite, and that elevates the experience by a lot. One often expects to see a genius on screen based on a real personality, but being pure fiction, Marguerite’s Theorem is not a bad one time watch.


Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Aniket Mukherjee
Aniket Mukherjee
Aniket is a literature student pursuing his master's degree while trying to comprehend Joyce and Pound. When his head is not shoved in books, he finds solace in cinema and his heart beats for poetry, football, and Adam Sandler in times.

Latest articles