Title: A Brilliant Young Mind
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Director: Morgan Matthews
Starring: Asa Butterfield, Sally Hawkins, Rafe Spall
Runtime: 1 hr 51 mins
What It Is: When a young autistic boy named Nathan (Butterfield) experiences the death of his father he becomes further enthralled with mathematics. So much so that he sets a goal, at nine years old, to be good enough to join the International Mathematics Olympiad squad for the United Kingdom. His teacher (Spall) is a former member whose let his internal demons (caused by his lack of dealing with Multiple Sclerosis) get the better of him. Meanwhile his mother (Hawkins) deals with trying to raise an autistic son. Nathan himself is an introvert, who does not like people touching him, even a handshake.
What We Think: Solid performances all around. Asa Butterfield is really convincing as Nathan, but Sally Hawkins steals the show. Her performance as his mother is very layers and evokes some much, you feel for this woman, and wish to never have to know her struggle. Rafe Spall bumbles perfectly through his damaged characters life. Credit to Jo Yang in her introductory performance as Chinese Mathlete, and important person in Nathan’s life Zhang Mei. The narrative is so rich, and there’s so much going in this is a film that’s alive, one that tells a story at every turn.
Our Grade: B, I really like the original British title x+y more so then the North American one. This is a tiny film telling a personal story, and doing so while sprinkling in tertiary characters that enhance the overall plot, and create interesting narrative conundrums. I’d recommend you check this out, but good luck finding it outside of New York, Los Angeles. It seems like video on demand is your best bet.