Flash of Genius

Rated 3.0

Director Marc Abraham and writer Philip Railsback (adapting The New Yorker article by John Seabrook) tell the story of Dr. Robert Kearns (Greg Kinnear), who invented intermittent windshield wipers in the mid-1960s, then spent years suing the big Detroit automakers for infringing his patent. The movie simplifies things by focusing solely on Kearns’ suit against Ford, but it gives full weight to the inventor’s obsessive pursuit of justice, to the detriment of his career, his marriage and (briefly) his sanity. Kinnear is excellent in the role, matched by Lauren Graham as his long-suffering wife and a succession of young performers as their six children at various ages. Still, the subtleties of patent law aren’t all that photogenic, and the movie never quite becomes as compelling as it promises to be.