Number of Times Seen – At least three times (Cable in the 90’s, 20 Feb 2006 and 17 Feb 2020)
Brief Synopsis – A sports writer tries to help his 7 year old son become a better chess player when he realizes that he is an expert at the game without ever having been taught it, but who has higher ambitions; the son or the father?
My Take on it – This is a film that I recall seeing not long after it came out on video and them once again slightly more than a decade later.
I remembered the overall premise and idea yet forgot the small intricacies of the story line that help make things so much more enjoyable.
They are able to find the fine line between an engaging sports competition and the wonder of discovering a talent and trying to find a way to nourish it in a healthy way.
The film remains engaging from start to finish and finds a way to show the very different ways that these kids and their parents deal with these competitions.
They do an excellent job dealing with the dilemma that kids face in these situations where they are thrust into a heavily competitive sport yet at the same time are expected to still be kids who wish to enjoy the game.
Love the way that they show how even the people in charge of these competitions try to keep the parents away during the competitions themselves due to the more aggressive viewpoints of the adults.
The different styles of playing chess are emphasized here and we get to see how one plays in these different ways from various viewpoints and styles.
The story is enhanced by the fact that it is based on real events and that allows us to get a unique perspective on the way that things are eventually played out here.
The cast is great with Joe Mantegna and Joan Allen as the parents of the kid played by Max Pomeranc.
In addition, we get to see some small supporting roles by David Paymer, Willaim H. Macy, Ben Kingsley, Laurence Fishburne and Laura Linney.
Bottom Line – Interesting idea that works really well because it manages to find a way to stay engaging yet also have the added effect of trying to show how these kind of competitions are dealt with by both children and their parents. The film is also able to bring up the dilemma of how a heavily competitive sport can be viewed by a kid who wants to have fun playing despite the fact that those around him wish for him to be more aggressive. The different styles of playing chess are also shown here and we get to see how each is played in very different ways from different viewpoints. The fact that this film is based on real events also enhances things and allows us to get a nice perspective on everything that is played out here. Great cast also helps make this so engaging to watch. Recommended!
MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Max Pomeranc was chosen because he is, in real-life, a chess player (or was at the time of this movie). The producers wanted someone who would be at ease and “correctly” playing chess. None of this movie’s other stars played chess in the beginning, but eventually Joe Mantegna learned. (From IMDB)
Rating – Globe Worthy (8/10)
Check out my *updated* movie stats here
To see my reviews of Oscar Winning Performances check out this link
To see my reviews of all Oscar Best Picture Winners click here (now complete)
Here is a link to my movie index A-Z