This movie may be what little many of us really know about Bobby Fischer, those of us who aren't chess fanatics or into reading about antisemetics and deportation in action.
Although not entirely. It also purports itself to be a true story, of sorts.
The movie involves Josh, a chess prodigy who is only 7 or 8 or so, but extremely gifted, and how he grows to find himself in chess.
It's also very much about how adults want their children to become things, to fit into certain molds or ideas, and how in order to allow our children to really grow, we have to release them from those ideals, least we destroy them.
Which is of course part of the great tragedy of the brilliant life of Bobby Fischer...the man is amazing, and brilliant, but a total loon. He snapped, and is now far more about the madness which drives him than the amazing art he made of chess.
Joe Mantegna is his usual brilliant self as the father figure who has to learn to let go while supporting. Joan Allen is the mother who knew all along, but has to get used to the idea that in his own way, her son is growing out of her life. Reverberations of Big Man Tate, if you will.
Ben Kingsley is amazing as the man who defines the art of chess, and wants dearly to prevent the creation of another Bobby Fischer. He shines, oh he shines. Heh. My kitten things that I am silly. This is likely so.
A rainy day drama to watch with the wife. Your kids may not quite like it, there's a lot of undertones to it. And the thinner, pre-morpheus Laurence Fishburne may lead to total non-plusment. But what do they know?
The video version of this had a really irritating interview after the credits with the real Josh (now in his teens) and his father where they proceeded to praise themselves for the next several minutes. Avoid at all costs, if you wish to continue to be able to watch this movie and feel good about it.
Ben Kingsley is the man.