Searching for Bobby Fischer VHS
Steve Zaillian, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Schindler's List, made his directorial debut with this critically acclaimed but little-seen drama based on the nonfiction book by Fred Waitzkin, about a father (Joe Mantegna) who discovers that his seven-year-old son (Max Pomeranc) is a genius at playing chess. The boy plays chess for fun, but when he's tutored by a former champion (Ben Kingsley) and entered into high-pressure competitions, an enjoyable pastime becomes a source of tension and resentment, forcing the father to reconsider his parental priorities. A poignant study of the difference between parental idealism and proper parenting, the movie is also an observantly witty portrait of a precocious child who is still, after all, a child, and still eager for the joyful discoveries of youth. While offering a fascinating look into the world of competitive chess, the movie's dramatically engrossing and extremely well-acted by a brilliant cast that also includes David Paymer, William H. Macy, and Dan Hedaya in memorable supporting roles. --Jeff Shannon
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
But as a retired tournament chess player, I want to mention how insightful this movie and the book upon which it was based actually are about the world of competitive chess. It's based on a true story, of course, and I appreciate how hard the movie works to faithfully represent what high-level scholastic chess is really like. I've been there with the stress, the fear of losing, the seemingly all-important intensity, and the utter lack of understanding from outsiders. It's a bit oversimplified in the movie, but I've been there with the blitz chess mentality versus positional study dichotomy.
I recommend this movie to anyone who appreciates a good, intense, well-made drama, whether or not they care at all for chess.
I also recommend it to anyone who wants to understand a bit better what the world of tournament chess is really like.
Yet this bonding can also prove to be a burden because it creates conflict such as what it means to be a kid and whether the son is really living out the dreams of a father. There are these tensions between variations on the chess game and whether to devote all energies to becoming the greatest chess player ever or have a normal life. The core family dynamic stretches which is difficult to watch as a reader, but most people should see a certain humanity in the characters that leaves viewers engaged.
When one has those types of dynamics, the subject matter of the film could be badminton and no one would care.
set by Former World Champion Bobby Fischer, hence the movie's title. As is so often the case, words such as prodigy were
thrown around, and this was the mantle placed on young Josh. The heir apparent. The movie deals with the struggle of young
Josh not only to succeed in a very competitive sport, but to grow in meaningful warm relationships with his friends, fellow competitors, chess coach, father, and others. And grow and mature he does, sometimes to the angst of parental figures who
strive for "winning" over long term relationships and caring for others. Coach GM Bruce Pandolfini is unfairly characterized as some kind of overdriven nut (at least in one scene). I hope every parent gets the importance of balance as described by Josh's father
at the end of the movie.
Most recent customer reviews