X+Y (A Brilliant Young Mind)

Happened to see the movie “X+Y” today… This is a British drama movie directed by Morgan Mathews, starring Asa Butterfield, Rafe Spall, Sally Hawkins, Eddie Marsan and Jo Yang… The film was produced by Origin Pictures in association with Minnow Films and was released by Koch Media… The film was released with the name “A Brilliant Young Mind” in the US by Samuel Goldwyn Films… The film is said to have been inspired by the documentary called “Beautiful Young Minds” and is based on the life of the renowned mathematical genius Daniel Lightwing…


The story as mentioned above, is based on the life of Daniel Lightwing… So, the film takes us on a journey along the life of Nathan Ellis, a teenager who has the Asperger Syndrome thereby causing him to be unable to connect with anyone or anything and finally finds comfort in the world of numbers… His parents ofcourse being unable to understand whats going on, assumes he is crazy and takes him to psychiatrist who educates them of Nathan’s condition and things are always a challenge for them… Then the story goes on to the point where he gets picked to represent Britain in the International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO – something I myself too had attempted back when in school 🙂 ) and ends up facing a plethora of challenges especially because of his condition… I have seen some reviews where they mention that he is shocked to find that he is not the only mathematical genius around and finds it difficult to keep up… But my observation is that thats not the case… Clearly he was the smartest one in the room, but its his condition that made him so anxious…

Overall, this movie is nothing but a romantic drama i.e. a typical cliched “boy meets girl” story… But what makes this movie different from any of the usual teen flicks is that here, the character is explored in every detail and portrayed by Asa Butterfield so beautifully that as a viewer you get to feel each and every emotion that Nathan and Everyone around him goes thru… Personally I felt that this movie is also a stark reminded on how insensitive we are towards people with conditions like the Asperger Syndrome as can be clearly seen from how his parents reacted to his behaviour to the system of IMO which too is completely insensitive to the condition… There are a couple of scenes where Nathan attends an exam and we see him getting incredibly anxious at even the slightest sounds made by others like sharpening of pencil to the sound of others writing and so on and end up failing the test… So, I think this is a testament to how insensitive we are to people with such genuine issues… Also, when thinking in another angle, isn’t this really how the system treats those who are different from whats usually considered “normal” and/or “acceptable”??? Food for thought indeed right there 🙂

However, story-wise, you get the usual part of how once the boy meets the girl, she ends up changing the boy to the better here as we see the girl Zhang Mei that Nathan meets during the IMO training camp in Taiwan, help him understand many of the things he has so far not been able to and take him closer and closer to being “normal” to the point of him being able to speak (even though with great difficulty) to the whole class and to the point of him finally realising what love is and that he loves her… And ofcourse by having the girl’s angry uncle (I guess its a difference there, as we normally expect it to be the girl’s dad), you finally have the ever famous “Love Triangle” in place… The movie doesn’t make it clear as to whether Nathan and Zhang end up being together in the end, however, we do know that the real person Daniel whom Nathan is based on, did infact end up together with Li Yijie, the girl he met during his IMO camp whom he later married…

So, the movie is worth the watch as an emotional roller coaster ride and I hope it will help everyone who watches it to be able to correct themselves if they are guilty of being insensitive to others no matter who they are…

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