Friday, September 11, 2015
X + Y = A Brilliant Young Mind – a terrific film of depth and perception about a maths genius of a boy’s shut-off, asocial awkwardness as he edges towards warmth and belief in others. It’s extremely funny, tear-jerking, sensitively acted and reminiscent of say, Kes or Billy Elliot. Centred on the British team’s preparation for a ‘Maths Olympiad’ it follows the boy’s attempts to grapple with his mother’s love, his tutor’s brave and balefully funny management of multiple schlerosis, a maths ‘training camp’ in China whose culture and exotic ways comfort him momentarily and the (to him) pain-inducing idea of competition against international peers. Truth is beauty and therefore, QED, maths gives the young man beauty in his isolation. We all feel alien at times in our lives and so it’s no step at all to occupy the shoes of the boy and relive all the emotions to which painful aloneness can give rise. It also reminds us of our responsibilities in our relations with others.