- Rated PG
- 110 mins
- I rated it 3 stars (Liked It)
One of my resolutions this year is to study and improve at chess. I've probably seen a quarter of this film in snippets flipping through the channels, but when I found out that it's based on the early life of Josh Waitzkin, I was sold. I'm hoping it ages well.
I'm disappointed; I was really hoping Searching would show more chess, but it was really about young kids and high-level competition.
Waitzkin was a true prodigy, and we follow him as he begins his chess career. Early on he's confident and playing with abandon, but soon he faces a player solely focused on chess. He's taken out of school and tutored by a former champion.
As Josh realizes that he may be beatable, he retreats and concludes that winning is not everything. Josh's dad (a sports writer) dials up the pressure to shake his son of his caution, but Josh's bitch mother thinks it's too hard on the boy.
The answer then is to completely forget about chess for a couple weeks. Upon returning, Waitzkin is refreshed and in the right mindset to deal with the ever mounting pressure.
The match takes place between the two prodigies, and in a tight spot, Josh sees a line that snatches victory from defeat.
Again, I wish it was a more technical film. Though any film trying to make money has to be as general as possible. It's a bit erratic, a bit sappy, and not all that fun to watch. The whole Bobby Fisher thing seems forced and unnatural. Still though, with all of that, I'd still say it's worth a look. Just don't expect great things.