X + Y (A Brilliant Young Mind)
Directed by Morgan Matthew
James Graham, playwright and screenwriter extraordinary, wrote in X + Y, "it's alright being weird, as long as you're gifted. If you're not gifted, then, that just leaves weird." A moment that tears through the heart of anyone ever told they were "unique," because, in the utter truth of the statement, if you're not special, then you just must be weird. Morgan Matthew's film X + Y is heartbreakingly emotional and utterly personal for anyone who has ever felt disconnected from society.
Nathan (Asa Butterfield), a teenage boy diagnosed as being on the spectrum, is a mathematical prodigy. When is chosen to represent the United Kingdom at the International Mathematical Olympiad, Nathan embarks on a journey of self discovery and begins to understand the true nature of social relationships.
I went into X + Y looking for something entertaining to watch on a Friday night, but, just two hours later, I was left ugly crying at the sheer beauty of Graham's stunning and affecting story. Graham has crafted a story that pulls on your heartstrings not only because his beautiful dialogue and stark telling of humanity but also because of his ability to let the audience project themselves onto these characters. If you have ever felt weird or out of place in society, you can see yourself in these characters - for better or for worse. If you've ever loved someone who just couldn't love you back, you can see yourself in these characters. If you've ever seen your ambitions deteriorate in front of you or simply found a new purpose in life, you can see yourself in these characters. Graham builds this beautiful world of characters that - although not entirely relatable - are able to speak to at least some emotional core inside of you. In the span of two hours, he builds a beautiful narrative about love, loss, acceptance, uniqueness, and difference that cultivates in the hearts of anyone watching.
X + Y features some fantastic and truthful performances from its cast. Sally Hawkins and Rafe Spall are absolutely electric on screen. Because of the nature of the rest of characters, Hawkins' and Spall's full-of-life performances are utterly captivating and immersive. Often with films that feature a hyper-intelligent, yet social inept protagonist lack any emotional connection because it's impossible to relate to the cold, emotionally stunted character. But Asa Butterfield brings a kind sentimentality to the role of Nathan. He brings an enigmatic sentiment to his character, that entices you into his claustrophobic world. He brings a sadness, but also a promising future, to his trapped character.
Morgan Matthew's film, penned by the ever-insightful James Graham, is a wonderful, but heartbreaking story about what it's like to be different. With a stunning story and marvelous cast, paired with the hauntingly beautiful music of Keaton Henson, X + Y will, without a doubt, evoke a strong emotional response, but in a cathartic sort of way.