January 27, 2015

Movie Review: X+Y (Mathematical Love)

I was invited to a media screening of a new film, X+Y, which is due to be released on 9 April 2015. According to the synopsis "teenage maths prodigy, Nathan (Asa Butterfield), struggles when it comes to building relationships, especially with his own mother, Julie (Sally Hawkins). 

In his complex world, he finds comforts in numbers and is taken under the wings of an unconventional teacher, Mr. Humphreys (Rafe Spall), and the pair form an unusual friendship. Nathan's talent wins him a place into the International Mathermatics Olympiad (IMO) where he and his team travels to Taipei under the squad lead Richard (Eddie Marsan). 

Nathan is confronted with unfamiliar surroundings and challenges and be begins to experience feelings for his Chinese counterpart, the beautiful Zhang Mei (Jo Yang), feelings that develop when he returns home to England."

The movie is a feel good heart-warming film that follows the complex relationships of Nathan, falling in love for the first time and trying to understand it through mathematical formulas. 

Nathan was diagnosed as autistic as a young child and finds comfort in maths. He also suffers the lose of his father young in life from a car accident and therefore looses the trust and loving relationship of someone close to him; a bond that his mother isn't able to replicate or gain for many years. As he advances in maths, he forms an unusual friendship with Mr. Humphrey's who tutors him into a place in the IMO in Taipei where he meets the lovely Zhang Mei and through their time spent together, they develop feelings for each other. 

A few key themes really stood out for me in this film; understanding and living through Bullying, Loneliness and Hope, oh and obviously, Love. 

I found this topic interesting and something that got me thinking after the film and the reality of life. These students are competing for place in the IMO and there are only 6 places for each country which they have to whittle down from 15 students. These students are the top performers in their school and are told how unique and smart they are, and when put together, you would think that you have the best of the best competing against each other.

However, in this environment not everyone can be at the top which means someone will be at the bottom (of the best) and so in this environment, bullying occurs rather than support, and issues of isolation, depression and segregation forms with a group of people who you would assume would be supporting each other. 

It was interesting to see that bullying happens in any environment and any group of people. I was naive to think that if you were bullied, that you wouldn't bully others, however, to survive and to be accepted, even by those who are the same as you, bullying does happen. We all need to learn to accept people as they are, accept that there are people who will be better than us at something and learn to take the positive qualities from everyone.

Loneliness and Hope
Nathan is the main character in this film, however, his mother, Julie, plays an amazing role where you follow a mother's desperation to connect with her son since loosing her husband from a car accident. She spends years pleasing and supporting Nathan's talents, needs and his autistic emotions, or lack there of, with no love or respect in return. You can feel her disappointment (and frustration) as Nathan continues to reject her and you want so much for her to set him straight but her patiences is strong and she pushes through each day alone. 

Her strength and hope for her son really iterates a mothers love for her child and never giving up on him no matter how much he pushes her away or says nasty things to her; she continues to show him love, she continues to respect his wishes and she continues to believe in him. This is true love.

The relationship between Nathan and Zhang Mei is cute. Two teenage kids who come together because of their commonality of Maths; however Zhang Mei shows Nathan another culture (Chinese) and another way to experience life. She also is able to show Nathan that there is more to life than just maths and that life is about living and doing the things you enjoy and loving those who are close to you and love you. 

It's a funny and heart warming film that I did enjoy. It's not a film I would watch at the cinemas but definitely one I would watch at home on a rainy day or a lazy Sunday. 

X + Y will be released in cinemas on 9 April 2015 and if you're one for a funny emotional movie then this is one for you. 

Thank you Pinnacle Films and Nixco for the invite.

Jo xo

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