Starring: Asa Butterfield, Rafe Spall, Sally Hawkins, Eddie Marsan



Director: Morgan Matthews

Rating: 4.5/5

If you are a fan of British film, you are in for a treat this year as there are plenty set to hit the big screen. X+Y is one that is not to be missed this weekend as Morgan Matthews is back in the director's chair.

Matthews is best known for his documentary work with the likes of Beautiful Young Minds, The Fallen, and Britain in a Day under his belt, but now he is moving into live action drama for the first time.

X+Y is inspired by documentary Beautiful Young Minds and follows a young maths genius who has his logic challenged by the one thing he cannot make sense of love.

Teenage maths prodigy Nathan struggles with people, not least his mother, Julie, but finds comfort in numbers. Mentored by unconventional and anarchic teacher Mr Humphreys, Nathan's talents win him a place representing GB at the International Mathematics Olympiad.

Matthews has made some terrific documentaries during his career, and it looks like he is going to be just as successful when it comes to bringing drama to the big screen. X+Y is a coming of age drama with a twist, as it delves into the world, struggles, and challenges of living with autism.

As must as X+Y is a movie about Nathan's development, it is also a film about relationships and the importance of friendship and love. What is great about X+Y is it doesn't wallow in sentimentality to develop these interesting themes and ideas.

We are used to seeing Asa Butterfield in bigger movies such as Ender's Game and Hugo and X+Y is his first major role in an independent film. The character of Nathan allows him to really show off his skill as an actor, as he delivers a wonderful performance.

It is a compelling turn from the young actor and when he shares the screen with the wonderful Sally Hawkins, there is a little bit of magic between the pair. This is another terrific performance from Hawkins, as she plays a character that is full of love for her son and yet is filled with sadness and loneliness. It is her performance that really will break your heart.

Autism is always a tricky subject to explore in film, and yet Matthews had handled this is sensitive and tender way to tell a very moving and human story. It is clear that Matthews has had experience of this world before - he was hugely influenced by Beautiful Young Minds - and that pours through in every scene.

There is no cliché here; instead, you have a movie that is powerful, heartwarming, charming, and compelling from the opening scene to the closing credits. All this has been achieved thanks to quality scrip that understood the subject matter that it was delving into.

X+Y is a British movie that I had been looking forward to for some time - I was interested in seeing how Matthews made the transition into drama - and it really does not disappoint. Matthews handles the subject matter with care, understanding and respect, while the cast give fantastic performances.

X+Y is out now.

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