X+Y (aka X Plus Y) is a coming-of-age dramedy directed by BAFTA Award winner Morgan Matthews, which is inspired by his documentary Beautiful Young Minds. Starring Asa Butterfield, Rafe Spall, Sally Hawkins, Jo Yang, and Eddie Marsan, the film received positive reviews when it premiered at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and London Film Festival.
Preferring to hide in the safety of his own private world, Nathan (Butterfield) struggles to connect with people, often pushing away those who want to be closest to him, including his mother, Julie (Hawkins). Without the ability to understand love or affection, Nathan finds the comfort and security he needs in numbers and mathematics. Mentored by his unconventional and anarchic teacher, Mr Humphreys (Spall), it becomes clear that Nathan’s talents are enough to win him a place on the British team competing at the highly revered International Mathematics Olympiad. Being part of a team and one which has a real chance of winning seems like it could change Nathan’s life forever. But when the team go to train in Taiwan, Nathan is faced with a multitude of unexpected challenges, not least the new and unfamiliar feelings he begins to experience for one of the Taiwanese competitors, the beautiful Zhang Mei (Yang).
From England to Taipei and back again, this inspiring and life-affirming story follows the unconventional and hilarious relationship between student and teacher, whose roles are often reversed, and the unfathomable experience of first love - when you don’t even understand what love is.