X+Y – Film Review

X+Y - Film Review

Score

An occasionally mawkish but moving film about a teenage maths prodigy

Director Morgan Matthews won a Bafta in 2009 for The Fallen – a documentary exploring the impact of soldiers’ deaths on their families. His debut fiction feature is a coming-of-age drama with Asa Butterfield (Ender’s Game) as autistic maths prodigy Nathan. After his father’s death, Nathan becomes distanced from his mother (Blue Jasmine‘s Sally Hawkins) and connects with teacher Mr Humphreys (Rafe Spall), who suffers from MS. He helps Nathan win a trial for the British team at the International Mathematics Olympiad in Taiwan, where he is coached by Richard (Eddie Marsan, in an amusing cameo). It’s an occasionally mawkish but moving film about the three central characters rebuilding their broken lives, and one in which Butterfield’s emotionally complex performance is the undisputed standout.