I’ve got something a little bit different for you today at emsypickle – a film review! I’m a massive movie fan and love nothing more than going to the cinema or having a DVD night in. Last Sunday night my boyfriend and I combatted the back to work blues by watching X+Y* which has just been released on DVD: “A young maths genius sees logic thwarted by one truly baffling equation: love. Directed by Morgan Matthews, X+Y is the uplifting and inspiring story of a teenager’s struggle to make sense of the world around him”. Ohhhh I love a coming of age story!
I absolutely loved X+Y and the first thing I did when I finished watching it was text my parents and tell them they must watch it too! It was really nice to watch a comedy / drama which is inspired by a true story and focuses more on the characterisation and storyline than relying on dramatic special effects (unlike most of the films filling the cinemas this summer). X+Y tells the story of a teenage maths prodigy Nathan (played by Asa Butterfield) who was diagnosed at a young age as being on the autistic spectrum. During his quest to join the UK team of the International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO) we see Nathan find comfort in mathematics and solace in numbers whilst words often fail him. Whilst at an IMO training fortnight in Taiwan, Nathan finds himself out of his rigorously controlled comfort zone and learns to adapt with the help of female Chinese team member Zhang Mei (Jo Yang). With the help of Zhang Mei, Nathan learns to express himself and how to cope with his unfamiliar feelings towards his new friend and finally deal with the death of his father.
X+Y is such a heart warming film – I laughed out loud and cried several times throughout! The complications and struggles of dealing with autism – both from Nathan’s perspective and his struggling single mum’s (Sally Hawkins) are so well played and illustrated.
Light relief comes from Nathan’s maths teacher, Mr Humphreys (Rafe Spall) who was himself training to be part of the UK IMO team as a teenager but was also beginning his struggles with MS which put an end to his dreams. Doesn’t sound like light relief I know, but Humphreys dry, self deprecating humour provides many funny moments, both on his own and in his interaction with Nathan, whose autism means he often doesn’t understand Humphrey’s sarcastic manner.
X+Y is shot beautifully and focusses heavily on the patterns of light and colour which Nathan is attracted to, making the audience feel more sympathetic and aligned with Nathan and glean more of an insight into his life with autism.
I definitely recommend giving X+Y a watch. A coming of age story dealing with love, friendship, parenting, autism, bullying, jealousy, depression and death it’s a complex ride and British independent film at its best. And who knew maths could be so fun?!
Have you seen X+Y? What did you think?
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*I was kindly given a copy of X+Y on DVD to review. All thoughts are honest and my own. For more information please see my Disclaimer Page.