Film review: X + Y

X + Y (Rialto and Metro) is one of those deeply satisfying movies that you can turn over in your mind afterwards and it still stands up. Indeed, the more you think on it, the better it becomes.


X + Y

Director: Morgan Matthews
Cast: Asa Butterfield, Sally Hawkins, Rafe Spall, Eddie Marsan, Jo Yang, Martin McCann, Jake Davies, Alex Lawther, Alexa Davies, Edward Baker-Close, Orion Lee
Rating: (M)
Four and a half stars (out of five)


Nathan (Asa Butterfield) is an introverted maths genius.

He has been diagnosed as being on the Asperger's spectrum, which means his loving mum, Julie (Sally Hawkins), gets to turn herself inside out to accommodate him, while he gets to be annoyed because she is not smart enough to solve maths problems with him.

His only friend is his maths tutor Humphreys (Rafe Spall), a former maths prodigy with MS. Humphreys was once a maths Olympiad and Nathan becomes obsessed with becoming one too.

It's no surprise that he is good enough to be selected in the British squad but he has never considered what that means.

He has to travel overseas with people he does not know, leaving his precious routines behind.

His first trip is to Taiwan and he is pleasantly surprised to discover that he feels more comfortable there than he ever has at home.

The part I did not buy was that Nathan reads a teach yourself Chinese book on the plane and by the time they land he can speak and understand Cantonese to a high level, but it comes in handy as he is matched with a Chinese study mate, a young girl called Mei (Jo Yang).

Nathan's world finally seems to be opening up but before he runs headlong into his future maybe he should learn to connect better with the people he has left behind.

- Christine Powley 

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