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Searching for Bobby Fischer. I have to thank MASS for this one. Great family drama. Kid was wonderful, cast was wonderful, the movie was wonderful.
(VHS)(First Viewing, 2 Zaillian films seen)

A prepubescent chess prodigy refuses to harden himself in order to become a champion like the famous but unlikable Bobby Fischer.

Ben Kingsley looks a lot like an old Ralph Fiennes in this one. At least I think so. I had always known about this movie but never chose to view it throughout my many years of working at the local video store. I was roaming around Blockbuster, desperately looking for my favorites freebie along with Bamboozled and picked it up. My girlfriend is so annoyed with every film having nudity in it these days, so the PG-rating lightened things up a bit. It is a great family movie, but the kind you can even watch by yourself to enjoy.

You might also like...
- Spellbound (Jeffrey Blitz, 2003) - Spellbound follows eight teenagers on their quest to win the 1999 National Spelling Bee.
Who would of think that a movie about would be so interesting? Well not me, but I was captivated and moved.

****/****
Comments pending.
An insightful, powerful film about prodigies and our responsibility, as a society, to encourage the development of these youths and enable to them to achieve success. If a young child possesses an extraordinary musical ability, is it better for the child if you teach him how to create music that can be sold, so he can achieve financial success, or is it more important to teach him to develop his music, as an artist, without regard to financial worth? These are the questions asked in Searching for Bobby Fischer, and luckily for us, these are questions that our American society CHOOSES to ask and answer. Only in America would we care so sincerely and deeply about the POTENTIAL of one our nation's youth.

Josh Waitzkin (Max Pomeranc) is a prepubescent chess prodigy. His father (Joe Mantenga) encourages him to enter tournaments, to become nationally ranked. His teacher (Ben Kingsley) wants Josh to play for the beauty of the game, not to achieve titles or ranks. The father and the teacher, fighting for control of the student, provide a fascinating dynamic. Josh's father, recognizing that "Josh is better at this one thing then you or I will be at anything our entire lives", yearns for his son's success. He judges success by his son's accomplishments, on the competitions he wins, on the powerful players he can take down. It is a game, after all, and Josh is almost perfect at it.

Josh's teacher, however, recognizes the same sense of foresight and intuition he once saw in a young Bobby Fischer, and feels that if he can teach Josh a love of the intricate nature of chess as a game of careful strategy and finesse, then everything else will follow later. Art for art's sake, rather than for reward.

Laurence Fishburne is a thug who plays speed chess in the park, and although Josh excels at this fast, mean, blunt style of chess, his teacher believes that it will eventually hurt his game, that the game of chess is more graceful and elegant than the format played in the park.

These men fight valiantly for the soul of young Josh Waitzkin, who must make big decisions about his career, his values, and his family, even though he's only 7-years-old. Bobby Fischer was similarly a prodigy, beating ranked world players near the same age. In the 70s, after a big Russian tournament, Bobby Fischer vanished, reappearing only a few years ago. In many ways, Searching for Bobby Fischer is also about our sense of pride as Americans, about the fact that our country's best chess player chose to leave the nation which encouraged his devlopment. If another prodigy is found, how can his talents be developed in a manner that doesn't drive him away, that keeps and nurtures? Bobby Fischer was pressured and harangued as a child, and these stress-factors showed in his grown-up persona; he developed into an eccentric and immature adult. Searching for Bobby Fischer is a fascinating morality play with an ambiguous definition of success lying at its center.

The film is sumptuously shot, with the smoky, naturally-lit confines of libraries and dens coming alive on the screen. The acting is uniformally stellar, especially by the young Max Pomeranc. It helps a little if you have a rudimentary knowledge of chess, but it's not necessary to enjoy the film.

Searching for Bobby Fischer is a film that is filled with emotion, and every second is genuine. The movie does not manipulate. It is a feel-good film that earns the good feelings it invokes. It is also one of my favorite films of all time. Although it hasn't made my list of top 10 all-time films, it would definitely make my top 20.
I'm editing this: .... I'm new to this, so I didnt realize some things... I'm going to add more movies I saw very recently but havnt added for w/e reasons.

Huge disappointment here.
Perhaps it had to do with me watching it after The Aviator, but the action sequences left me cold.

Not only is there no chemistry between Paltrow and Law, but they also fail at making their characters remotely charismatic.
Nice visuals, but Indiana Jones this is not.
6.2/10






Maybe it is better not to be the best then you can lose and it's OK. - Josh (chess child prodigy)

This is a great little sleeper of a film and a terrific pick for family viewing. For me two themes stood out in this film. First, is the strong relationship between the son and father. Film creators so often neglect this family dynamic. Fathers are typically depicted as the overly stern disciplinary or a simplistic placeholder or absent altogether. Here, we actually get to see a father as a fully fleshed out character caring for his son.

The second theme is this notion that winning is not everything. Winning is not what brings fulfillment to our lives. If being the best means sacrificing friends, family and happiness, is it really worth it? What builds character is not in the winning, but how the game is played. Without sportsmanship it is worthless. What inspires us, the winning or the sportsmanship displayed by our sport heroes? (Cheesy yes, but it still rings true).
i originally had this movie at a 2 /10 but someone conviced me 2 bring it up a significant amount,i woulda brought it up 2 5/10 but i guess ill be nice and give it a 6/10
Yea iss a good movie