Tuesday, 23 February 2016


This British funded movie is a great example of film making in the UK and stars Asa Butterfield, Rafe Spall and movie ramble favourites Sally Hawkins and Eddie Marsan. The focus of the movie is Nathan Ellis (Butterfield) who is a maths prodigy coached by a spliff smoking MS sufferer Martin Humphreys (Spall). Nathan is haunted by flash backs of his beloved father who was killed in a car accident. Nathan is unable to connect with his mother Julie (Hawkins) or to relate to people (he’s not missing much there!). National Organiser Richard Grieve (Marsan) wants Nathan to compete for the UK team in the International Mathematical Olympiad taking place in Taiwan. Unaccustomed to mixing with other teenagers of the same age the autistic Nathan finds it a problem integrating with other members of the squad and can’t get to grips with his feeling’s for one of the female Chinese competitors.  

Relationships are never easy in this excellent movie.

This enjoyable and gentle coming of age drama is, I am reliable informed, a sympathetic portrayal of autism. The movie brings to mind Mark Haddon’s novel The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night Time which also deals with a teenager who knows a very great deal about maths but very little about human beings, in the novel the teenager in question has Asperger’s Syndrome. Rarely does a film convey such sadness about lonely people and what it is like to be categorised as weird. Inspired by his own 2007 BBC documentary Beautiful Young Minds, Morgan Matthews has managed to make a movie which as well as making you smile entices you onto an emotional roundabout that you will find it imposable to get off until the credits.  X+Y (2014) is a story of a wee lad that cuts himself off from the bleak realities of life following his father’s death and buries himself in a private world of numbers and the art of mathematics.  I know what your thinking, “this sounds boring” well I can assure you that it’s far from that!

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