A Brilliant Young Mind is an upcoming movie with Asa Butterfield (aka Ender in Ender’s Game) which is about a teenage autistic mathematics prodigy named Nathan. I saw this movie when it was called X+Y at the Toronto International Film Festival last September. The title was fine to me, but likely not so much to the non-mathematicians in the audience!
The cast and director Morgan Matthews were at the premiere at TIFF. Matthews told the audience he was especially moved that hundreds braved a torrential downpour outside Ryerson theatre to queue for the movie. Butterfield seemed a bit nervous on stage, but his awkward presence seemed to gel with the character. I hear he may play Spiderman in a refresh of that franchise, which would be brilliant casting.
I quite liked the movie, which was a solid coming-of-age story. Sally Hawkins was strong playing Julie, Nathan’s mother. I thought the film found a good balance depicting Nathan’s autism, his mathematical genius, and his romantic feelings towards Zhang Mei. He meets Zhang when competing in the International Mathematical Olympiad (think a mathematical version of the olympics for teenagers).
I am loving how mathematical characters seem to be infusing popular culture. In my previous post, I referenced The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything, and their impact at TIFF and the Oscars.
And now this story…