X+Y (2014) Film Review


X+Y is a very emotional film which ironically is about someone who struggles with emotions. Centered on the autistic math prodigy Nathan Ellis (Asa Butterfield from Enders Game / The Boy In the Striped Pyjamas), this is an incredibly unique coming of age story that will have you a little teary but with a big smile on your face at the end of the picture. X+Y is a 2014 BBC film directed by Morgan Matthews. The film, focuses on a teenage english mathematics prodigy named Nathan (Asa Butterfield) who has difficulty understanding people, but finds comfort in numbers. When he is chosen to represent Great Britain at the International Mathematical Olympiad, Nathan embarks on a journey in which he faces unexpected challenges, such as understanding the nature of love.


I really cant avoid saying this, X+Y at its core is one of the most beautiful and real films I have ever seen, Morgan Matthews background in documentaries really shows here. There are several scenes, for example the street scenes in Taiwan that where literally filmed on the street and no extras where used, it gave such a nice more authentic feel, its a minor addition but these minor touches make such a major difference in a few key scenes. I can heap a lot of praise on the director but the cast deserves a lot of credit too. Asa Butterfield is outstanding in the main role, playing autistic is not easy and he could have easily come off as comical, but he pulls it off and makes someone who uses very little emotion a very emotional character. It’s hard to describe but if you watch you will understand. In the role of Nathan’s mother is Sally Hawkins and she is just outstanding in this picture, you really feel for her and there is a lot of respect for her character, though she looses her patience some times, she manages to keep a level head and tries so hard and she really makes a great connection with our hearts.


Northern Ireland’s own Martin McCann is outstanding as Nathans father, he plays his scenes so well you really almost believe they are real. I really look forward to seeing more from this guy, he brings a humility to the screen that really shines and makes him stand out. Another stand out performance was from the barely known Jo Yang, she plays Nathans love interest and their connection is just so sweet, it’s just a delight to watch. My favorite performance was still Rafe Spall as Nathans teacher who becomes some what of a father figure to him. He is so blunt and to the point, his foul mouthed attitude is a great contrast to the subtle yet quiet Nathan, he is a man with great pain but he hides it well and when it finally shows it.s just tragic but a tragic beauty.


X+Y has so many running themes, of patters and mathematics, this ties in with Nathan’s perspective on how he sees the world, helping the audience understand his condition, a very subtle and wonderful touch to this picture. Truth is another major theme in the film, finding ones own truth, even having Eddie Marsan’s character quote truth is beauty to him, saying that math is the ultimate truth, it’s a very unique concept that really made me smile. A final theme of the picture is overcoming obstacles, everyone in this picture has to overcome something and it’s a good watch, you get to see these people grow and become better people, or at least better version of themselves.


A fantastic film with an inspiring sound track it will move you and make you feel quite a lot, in the modern disconnected world it’s nice to see a film about forming connections, also as it is based on a true story I should tell you about the end, yes they do, you will know what I mean when you see the film.

Release dates:

UK 13 March 2015
Ireland 13 March 2015
Hong Kong 19 March 2015
Thailand 26 March 2015
Australia 9 April 2015
Sweden 24 April 2015

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