Teenage maths prodigy Nathan (Asa Butterfield), diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum, struggles when it comes to building relationships, not least with his mother, Julie (Sally Hawkins). When Nathan's talent for numbers is spotted by unconventional teacher Mr. Humphreys (Rafe Spall), his growing confidence earns him a place on the International Mathematics Olympiad UK squad. Under team leader Richard (Eddie Marsan), Nathan travels to train in Taiwan where he meets fellow mathlete, the beautiful Zhang Mei (Jo Yang), who unlocks new feelings in him. Heart-warming and uplifting, "X+Y" is the story of a boy trying to solve the most difficult and irrational problem of them all - love.
Very disappointed with this movie. Very few of the characters rang true. I know the main lead was supposed to be autistic but I found it very difficult to summon up any sympathy for this character. I did not like the jumpy acting style of his mother. The relentless and overpowering soundtrack was extremely irritating making it difficult at times to understand the what was being said. Although, towards the end of the movie, I'de lost interest anyway.
Sentimental, manipulative autisto-soap aimed at the Chinese market
- X+Y review by PV
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You rated this film: 2
I was intensely irritated by this film - which, I note, is made by BBC Films and based on a documentary by the director.
Was it because every social issues box was ticked (autism, tick; self-harm, tick; ethnic diversity, tick; mixed relationships, tick; bereavement, tick; MS, tick etc)? Or was it because of the brazen and shameless attempt to aim this film at the lucrative Chinese market? Or was it the dreadfully fey and whimsical soundtrack? Or was it the cop-out unbelievable ending? Or was it the wishy-washy wimp of a mother character? Or the completely unnecessary inclusion of girls in a maths contest (which really does not happen) and a silly love triangle subplot with one blonde English teen girl and another Chinese one lusting after the boy teen? Or the utter absurdity of the main character learning Mandarin Chinese fluently by reading a phrase book on the flight to Taiwan (yeah right!)Gosh, whom knows? Maybe I'll work it out in an equation and claim to be on the autistic spectrum too eh?
Good actors in this movie especially the always -wonderful Eddie Marsdan. Also Rafe Spall, even though this posh boy just doesn't get the character's London accent quite right (it's a stage school version...) Those performances get an extra star - otherwise I would have given this one star.
But I really didn't believe the main character, even though Asa (what a name!) Butterfield is possibly the next Spiderman. And the mother character and the teen girls characters were just shoe-horned into the plot because, frankly, high level maths is a male-only world, and that would never do (esp at the BBC...) Still, it has disability, autism, and is multi-ethnic, so no doubt the BBC think that alone makes it a wonderful film.
But it isn't. It is over-rated, calculated, schmaltzy and annoying. And it sure ain't a comedy either - I didn't laugh once.
And, by the way, at the vast majority of UK Chinese takeaways (all except the new ones opened to cater for Chinese students), they speak CANTONESE and NOT Mandarin, because the owners and staff are from Hong Kong families.