Director : Morgan Matthews. UK. 2014. 1hr 51mins. Cert. 12a rating TBC.
Cast. Asa Butterfield as Nathan, Rafe Spall, Sally Hawkins, Jo Yang, Eddie Marsan, Edward Baker-Close, Percelle Ascott, Alexa Davies, Alex Lawther, Jake Davies, Martin McCann, Tasha Connor, Paul J. Dove.
Beyond the realm of most people neurological uses for their brain comes another group of humans whose functioning on pattern reasoning and personal development are caught in a maelstrom of immensity of brain capability and of mental incapacity.
X+Y refers to a rational theory recognition which is non-numerical but hinting at the 26 letters of the English alphabet it has been the authors, writers dominion in which to describe ourselves and our realism.
1. + 2. Premise and Plot
The whole film is a conveyer belt of elite education taking on the form of competition between nations in loosely moralistic or ethical educational terms but effective as a driver both metaphorical and actual for exploratory developmental reasons of 1. + 2. Premise and Plot.
It has as a nice counter foil to the potential lack of exploratory visual content the school of learned Mathematicians gets to train in Tiawan where there is a love interest to create even further mind athletics within the head of Nathan and his contemporaries.
The 59th International Mathematical Olympiad is mind games of the intellect for the savant flexible youngsters from all over the world. Nothing decisions just slightly unhinged and unbracketed until the human mind comes up with a better than advanced Eurovision Song Contest type evaluation model for the brain.
The future sings.
So we enter the world of a juvenile brain developing from the age of nine.
His name is Nathan Butterfield, if I’m not mistaken he resides in Sheffield, or is it possibly Derby. There is a train journey taken on the Glorious East Midlands Railway, through the Glorious English rolling green fields to give a flavour of the land of giants where walked before us.
After the team return to England the niece of Chinese team leader who is equally gifted but more emotionally cognisant than many of the other prodigies, the girl Jo Yang is given sight of the significance of the world of education, seen from the former regal heights of the Cambridge centrality of advancement in their field. The academic milieu is now spread into every crevice of the developing world with integers belonging through the crescendo and avalanche of information once until the last twenty years executed at millisecond speed to all the new custodians of the future.
Wordsworth, Darwin, Babbage, Turing, Perkins, Stephenson, Shakespeare, Blake, Newton, Faraday and many many others. The sense of England and the United Kingdom all to presently blighted by the richest rapacious from all in the neighbourhoods known as earth choosing to plunder that Glory for all it’s worth.
Nathan, an only child, is at nine beginning to show his enthusiastic parents, Michael played by Michael McCann of local origin, and Julie played by Sally Hawkins. The film is directed with small but detailed regard to carefully minimal chosen flashbacks, of the origins of the growth Nathan and the characters witness very ably and with equality of intelligent for us to gain insight and our sense of kindred fellowship by the astute Director
Morgan Matthews in collaboration with the pacing pattern forming Writer and story teller James Graham.
The acting is superb and fairly flawless. The resonances for families, especially one child, one parent families, savant teachers! as well as the families of nations striving to interact with our brains and that university of a thing we carry round in our head called a brain is insightful.
Library closed today. Back at four. Study after dark required. Forgotten non returned books and knowledge passed on intuitively or by the consumption this film centers on is like time itself. Unchanging. Unmoving. Unfilled. Uncaptured. None is unedifying but it, the film, shows us the huge gulf in human understanding of ourselves. Again it enters last years obsession from ‘Her’ through to ‘Still Alice’ of this cinematic travel of now.
There is no theory for everything, no Turing, Hawking turning point but the vastness yet unknown. Mr Humphreys, Rafe Spall hands his pupil over to an excited troop controller for the trip to Taiwan where the culture is vibrant and shown linear, meaning it is deeply fashioned by its culture and here holds onto its identity unlike the majority of the West.
The expandable University of our minds
Nathan is confronted by limits. His limits are extended and extended by firstly the immense capacity of his parents to love within their means.
Then next by the teacher savant , Mr Humphreys, Rafe Spall, recommended to them by the upper school he is taken to once his prodigious talent for Mathematics and pattern recognition is signified and singled out for treatment by that other set of pattern recognisers, whose actual strength lie in the more obtuse and less challenge blue parameters of the Medical facts, the Doctors.
They know less about the brain than can be needed for a human to function at the given pace of genetic and scientific discovery. Patterns are now dual aspect. Intellectual/Medical
Once the plain area of the skills displayed by Nathan would tenuate around mere mathematical prodigy.
Now they encompass duality of mental frameworks and in the case of his savant teacher! – apologies for not having mentioned him sooner – as he is a wonderful key in unlocking the unfurling genius – Rafe Spall as Jamie Humpreys, whose portrayal of a Mathmatics tutor is well, masterful.
His incumbency is in a shape shifting parallel to Nathan’s and provides a hook to claw into the emotional narrative so deftly and for the most part uplifting lay, heartwarmingly and rivetingly strong in cinematic value.
Sally Hawkins as his mother is painfully dealt with some times in excoriatingly painful mental torment. It is felt deeply through her raw acting and the directorial and writing treatment, delivering us a hard tough film.
Less prominent but as important is father Michaels own view of his sons ability and their strong bond is evident throughout for different and scarring reasons.
We are sums as maths servants. (used with a singular verb) the systematic treatment of magnitude, relationships between figures and forms, and relations between quantities expressed symbolically. It commands our will to obtain reason and introduces at every moment beauty of existence in the relation of 1 and 0. Sally Hawkins, Martin McCann are us as representatives of the normal state of things.
Rafe Spall and Eddie Marsan are the ‘Mind’ trainers relatively at home on the outside of the drudgery of earth bound subjectivity we rarely encounter, with their reverence to the higher authority, mathematics.
Zhang Mei (Jo Yang),Orion Lee ( Deng Laoshi, both as the Chinese elements of the cast have the ability to run the line of believability of this strange world of weird uplifting scope and potentiality. They inhabit the mathematics as is a relatively dominant pattern formed elasticity of nature which they, Chinese and Eastern philosophy find as their societal fabric.
They have innate human tensions and have beliefs and traditions.
They are exposed and again the emotional development of mankind shifts from extreme accomplishment to inept irrationality, as we are, as the commercial world of ever driven neon exclamation marks and transit modes the Director shows abound, the mass population, despite increasing, evaluates through retention of values and fellowship.
Conclusion. #### 4.
I liked this film without loving its obvious uplifting sensibility.
The very shape of the story was the central competition motif of which there a television, monthly, weekly, annual diet of comparative analysis is always on somewhere. Here we gain insight to the University of our brains and the limits of expression of the higher plain it has, relatively untouched capability within. The diversity along with developmental hope is the message here I feel.
The exam, the numbers game. The task. The enumeration.
When a world of figures appearing as columns and accreditation is taken at the flood.
From climate to climax a score is attributed. Then the table of caution, of risk is formulated.
Do I need a mathmatical prodigy film? Is it a bit like the Turing film?
The young Alan Turing actor Alex Lawther, incidentally, does another artful rendition of a personable youth in the agreeable character of Issac.
He is of a cooler intellect with emotional reasoning, relatively unselfish.
In other roles some of the young actors find themselves acting as one dimensional and misunderstood (other reviews to call them geeks/weirdos,) and in one instance you have to feel for the challenge of bringing out believably, the restrained emotionally harmed prodigy of a pupil whose misfortune turns in on himself. The young isolated, overtly irrational boy is a subject in himself.
I guess this is also like Whiplash in the sense it involves talent and teacher.
The demand for excellence and how mankind must in order to survive and sustain, be motivated to expand into those cells unused in the university sitting in our heads those resident dormant cells.
Cell theory currently explores our ‘longevity’ by considering the time and effort the cells into destroying – not themselves but by brokerage from another messenger – or pushing up into life regeneratively or emerging as alien to be the life force. The switching off and on being something we aim to eventually control!?
If only we understood how the mind accepted knowledge and natural concealed and hidden properties that may allow us advancement out of a primordial garden.
Those prepared to give room for the development of the story and appreciative of learning techniques will see another narrative opening levels of theory and equations somewhat tangential. It is in the vicinity of too contrived but I accept the plot, premise on the basis the theory of life needs a heads up and assist of filmic pattern making. It is where we are.
11 March 2015
A BFI and BBC Film. Producers Laura Hastings-Smith, David M. Thompson
Opening at QFT Belfast on Friday 12 March 2015 to end on Thursday 23 March 2015.
Wider outlets. 12a rating.