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In The Accountant (2016), as the character "Christian Wolfe" (Ben Affleck) is speeding off to save Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick), he is talking to Justine on the phone. She is cleaning up evidence of "Christian's" involvement and offers two new identities for "Christian" to assume, George Boole and Charles Babbage. The lines go:

Justine: I have George Boole or Charles Babbage in the queue.
Christian: Boole.
Christian: Obviously.
Justine: Silly of me.

Why was it Silly of me for Justine to even offer up Babbage as a new pseudonym?

In asking this, I am assuming I missed something earlier in the movie/dialog and that it's not simply something to do with the mathematicians themselves, although that's not too bad an idea either, with Christian being a mathematical savant.

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From what I can ascertain from George Boole's and Charles Babbage's upbringing, George Boole was a math prodigy while in the case of Charles Babbage, while he was highly intelligent, he had childhood friends, indicating he was able to socialize.

In looking at internet pictures of George Boole and Charles Babbage, none of George Boole's pictures ever have him looking at the viewer, where Charles Babbage has one or two of him peering back at the artist or viewer.

In the movie, Agent Medina is told that those with autism don't look at their audience, but avert their eyes, like in the photos of Lewis Carroll. Therefore George Boole would have the markers of autism, over Charles Babbage. Hence Christian Wolfe's comment, "Boole, of course" and Justine's comment,

Silly of me

That's just my guess.

  • So, I'm sorry I chose the answer by user1118321 as my accepted answer so quickly. I believe this may be closer to the real/correct reason. Unless someone can give a reason by quote from the author/director, or any book this movie was based on, this seems like a better answer to me. – CGCampbell Aug 22 '17 at 18:01
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I don't think there's a reason for this based on who the mathematicians actually are, or what they did. This was to help to develop the relationship between the characters.

When Christian says

Boole. Obviously.

and Justine replies

Silly of me.

it's suggesting to the audience that they know each other so well that it shouldn't have even been a choice. Justine should have just known which option Christian would pick, which is why he's surprised when she asks the question.

It is also intended to be humorous. The point is that it isn't obvious to the audience, and there is no reason for it to be.

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Having not seen the movie, I can only speculate. But looking at their histories, although Babbage was a very smart person, and he did some foundational work on programmable computers, he didn't ultimately get his machines built in his lifetime. Boole, on the other hand, laid an even deeper foundation for computing than Babbage. Today, to make Babbage's ideas work, we use Boole's system of algebra. At least, that's how it seems to me.

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Not math, but something of a Hollywood in-joke.

“Charles Babbage” is very similar to “Charles Babbitt,” the character played by Tom Cruise in “Rain Man,” also starring Dustin Hoffman as Charlie’s brother Raymond who like Chris the Accountant lived with autism.

Hoffman’s portrayal including the memorable line “Charlie Babbitt made a joke” would probably make using the name Charles Babbage distasteful for a person with Chris’ high-functioning autism. We saw Chris as a child learn to defend himself against hazing for his dis/ability. “You’re different,” said his father. “Different scares people.”

The choice between Boole and Babbage wasn’t explained but in itself wasn’t essential to the story. Babbage’s name was only brought up in the script for Ben Affleck / Chris to reject it - “obviously.” Justine picked up the thread right away - “silly of me.”

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I know this is an old thread but i have two guesses. The first is that Boolean (named after Boole) is true or false, on or off, which can also be interpreted as black and white which is how Wolff's character thinks. He's very mathematical like a computer's ones and zeros, like a Boolean, the foundation of computers and programming which Wolff and Justine have an affinity towards.

I also came across some information in an article i found that may explain Wolff's preference for Boole (https://georgeboole200.ucc.ie/boole/legacy/computerscience/). It mentions that his father taught him things (like Wolff's father) and Boole was close to his wife, Mary -- also a mathematician, who understood him (like Justine). And, finally, the article says the following about Boole and mentions a quote by him that seems to sum Wolff and his accounting skills up perfectly:


It should be noted that Boole had ideal skills for tackling information storage and retrieval. He had a remarkable memory, and credited this to his ability to categorise information:

"The power of arrangement, which provides its proper place in the mind for every fact and idea, and thus enables me to find at once what I want, just as you would know in a well-ordered set of drawers where to lay your hand in a moment upon any article you required"

That's my take :)

Btw, I was just watching the movie for the third time and wondered the same thing which is how i found this thread :)

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Forgive me, I don't mean to be rude -- but I think this question has yet to be answered. There's something about Boole that would make him the "obvious" next choice over Babbage, but I think it's something that only a math pro would know -- perhaps on the basis of knowing that Wolfe's current pseud is "Lou Carroll," and that he'd previously gone by "Carl Gauss," and seeing something in the pattern suggested thereby. My guess might have been chronological, but that doesn't work at all, as both Boole and Babbage predate Dodgson/Carroll.

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    It's not rude at all. I also think/thought that there was some sort of "in joke" about mathematics that I was missing. They (Justine and Christian) are both high level autistic's, with perhaps Christian more so, in that he can relate to the world, more or less. Justine's autism is more debilitating, as far as the world at large goes, but as we can see, she relates to Christian just fine, albeit through the computer-to-phone interface. I chose the answer I did, because after some thought, I considered that perhaps I read too much into the scene. – CGCampbell Feb 23 '17 at 19:07

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