While I admit, these movies are very far and few in-between, there are a few which have made their way into the annals of my mind. I was recently contemplating which, if any, movies I’d recommend for anyone and everyone; there was one movie which came to my mind which I would recommend without any hesitation whatsoever:
Searching for Bobby Fischer.
Never heard of it?
It’s odd to me that most people have never heard of this truly amazing film. Whenever I watch it, I find myself totally blown away; not only from the brilliant cinematography and the wonderful score, but from the fantastic acting. Ben Kingsley (as Bruce Pandolfini) and Joan Allen (as Josh’s mom) both play their roles well, and I always find myself amazed at their deliveries. Additionally, Laurence Fishburne (Josh’s “potzer” friend and mentor, Vinnie) does a great job and is very likable. However, the most surprising is the unbelievable performance from Max Pomeranc AKA: Josh Waitzkin.
A brief synopsis of this movie could be written as thus:
Josh Waitzkin is an average boy. He loves baseball, pizza, and playing in the park. Also, he’s 7 year-old chess prodigy, only nobody realizes it. When Josh’s newfound ability is discovered, his father immediately thrusts him into an unfamiliar world of competitions where winning is everything. Though Josh’s instructor tries to get him to be as aggressive as Bobby Fischer, and to win at any price, Josh is determined to not succumb and lose himself in the process of becoming the best.
There are many scenes which I love in this film, but there is one which really stands out where Josh is having a lesson with his instructor, Bruce Pandolfini:
Bruce: Do you know what the word contempt means? It's to think of others as being beneath you, to be unworthy of being in the same room with you.
Josh: I don't feel that.
Bruce: Well, you better start. Because if you don't think it's a part of winning, you're wrong. You have to have contempt for your opponents. You have to hate them.
Josh: But I don't.
Bruce: They hate you...They hate you, Josh.
Josh: I don't hate them.
Bruce: Bobby Fischer held the world in contempt.
Josh: I'm not him.
Though this film contains many thoughtful scenes, as well as those of humor, it is not about chess. Well, it is, but not really. It’s more about the lesson of decency, family, and doing what is right, no matter the consequence. I could go on for pages about this extraordinary movie, however, the best thing you could do is to watch it yourself. In this I can make you a promise…you won’t be sorry you saw it.