X+Y (2014)

Our hero is Nathan, a young boy who has been diagnosed on the autistic spectrum and is also brilliant at maths. He has the chance to be selected for the UK team for the International Maths Olympiad, and is tutored by a teacher with MS (played by Rafe Spall), who also entered the Olympiad, back in the day.

Meanwhile, his mother struggles to get any connection with him, as Nathan is withdrawn, feeling like he doesn’t fit in anywhere, until he meets a girl on the Chinese team in the training camp in Taiwan.

This is a lovely, gentle film, with understated but brilliant performances from the whole cast. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Sally Hawkins (who plays Nathan’s mother) put in a bad performance, but she is superb and rather moving here. Spall is also great as the shambling Mr. Humphries who has practically given up hope on life, and Asa Butterfield puts in a sensitive performance as Nathan. And there’s Eddie Marsan! Really, what else could you want in a film.

films drama

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