starring Asa Butterfield, Rafe Spall, Sally Hawkins, Eddie Marsan
screenplay by James Graham
directed by Morgan Matthews
by Walter Chaw Reminding most of Camp in that it's ultimately more of a zoo for curiosities than an invitation for empathy, here's A Brilliant Young Mind, which posits, among all the Rain Man things it posits about autism, that the Chinese, besides being good at backflips, are very good at math. For the Chinese, you see, math is like art. It says so in this book that was written over the course of a thousand years. For the type of audience that gets off on those Olympics puff pieces where the Chinese are portrayed as opportunistic monsters who sell their children to the national team, it's a special sort of Eurocentric auto-flattery. The implication, see, is that although you're about to lose to the Chinese, they're still morally inferior to you. The Chinese, you understand, don't love their children. And they're good at math. Also, they're sexually naive, you know, because it's not like Asia is horrifically over-populated or anything. Later, a British guy quotes Keats in relation to how if truth is beauty and beauty is truth, then math must be the most beautiful thing of all. It's that kind of movie. The kind of movie with a score of industrious violin pulls and ambitious, then sad, keyboards. It has a moment where the evil dragon uncle of the Chinese mathlympians shouts, in perfect Mandarin, "What are you two doing?" and the film translates it as, "Are you in a relationship?" It's that kind of movie. You'll like it if you're that kind of person.