Posted by: greercn | March 20, 2015


“X+Y” is utterly memorable. If a big American studio had made this, it would have been horribly sentimental and lingered on endless hushed conversations. As it is, “X+Y” is full of glorious insights and warmth and has a truly British spirit and understatement.

It’s based on a 2007 documentary about two young men with genius level mathematics but social awkwardness, due to autism.

“Beautiful Young Minds” brought out the stories of Jos and Daniel in their quest to be selected for the International Mathematics Olympiad. Morgan Matthews directed that and he brings the same skill to this film.

Edward Baker-Close plays the young Nathan – based on Daniel – while the older character is played by Asa Butterfield. Baker-Close is very moving as the younger Nathan and there is a seamless transition to Butterfield taking over the role.

Butterfield, Sally Hawkins, Rafe Spall, Eddie Marsan and Martin McCann are all superb. Jo Yang, Jake Davies and Alexa Davies have truly beautiful moments as the young competitors.

This film celebrates difference and does so by being unashamedly intellectual, while entertaining the viewer.

Twists and turns keep the viewer’s attention. I might argue that James Graham’s ending to this is weaker than that of the documentary but I can understand the need to add some extra drama.

Do see it. My companion and I really enjoyed it. If you know a lot about mathematics, there are quite a lot of in-jokes that you will appreciate.

Several of the viewers at the Stratford East Picturehouse were in tears, at the end. My eyes were dry, but I was very moved by this super film.



  1. Hi,
    I don’t know if I’ve heard of “Beautiful Young Minds.” Thank you for following my blog today. I am honored. Nice to meet you.

    • Hi Janice! Thanks for the comment. That’s the documentary that tells the true story behind “X+Y”. It was shown on TV here and was and is very moving. I did mention that in my blog piece.

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