Saturday 28 March 2015

Film No. 16 (2015) X + Y March 16th.

Film No. 16 (2015) March 16th. 6:30 PM PARADISO Northbridge.

X + Y

This is simply an up-lifting fairytale which has so many faults one just needs to simply ignore the implausible narrative. Let me vent my spleen first. Nathan (Asa Butterfield) is diagnosed with Aspergers (a diagnosis on the autism spectrum), we meet him in an early scene as his parents come to terms with his behaviors. Nathan rarely communicates but is fixated with his dad's antics. So why does this film find it necessary to do the impossible and "cure" his Aspergers?

  Despite my query, I like the core ideas of X + Y. The story does ramble along but the idea of a smart young boy trapped in his own world because of a combination of circumstances (all the while fulfilling his potential as a brilliant mathematician) is original. Butterfield is highly convincing as the quiet lad who we just know is going to break out at any moment and cover new mathematical ground on a world scale.

Then there are all the side stories. Sally Hawkins as Nathan's mum is her nervous self but does not quite convince as being unloved. Rafe Spall plays Humphreys who brings his baggage to the the story as Nathan's coach and forms a bond with mum as well. Then there's Richard (Eddie Marsan), who dedicates his teaching life to the World Maths Olympics whilst constantly reminding Humphreys of the potential he once had. I told you, it rambles a little and there is a disjointed quality.

Morgan Matthews directing his first feature was given his idea by the inspirational documentary Beautiful Young Minds based around the competitors at the International Mathematics Olympiad. Moving from doco to feature takes courage and I dare say it's the reason for the flaws. Writer James Graham has built a story with a big heart and spreads and international spirit. See, I've nearly forgotten my reservations. Although the dumbing down of the Australian contestants by the film makers lost them ratings.   7GUMS. 


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