Parents' Guide to

Pawn Sacrifice

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Fascinating chess biopic deals with mental instability.

Movie PG-13 2015 116 minutes
Pawn Sacrifice Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 1 parent review

age 12+

Good autobiography movie

It is hard to say that movie was interesting- it was okay. Autobiography of world chess champion, showing us a genius with social issues and mental health problems. From the movie we could see, that main character was treating his surroundings pretty poorly, he behaived like an asshole almost all the time, and honesty, I felt no mercy for him. In general actors has played dramatically good,I felt like I am this chess player,who is afraid of KGB, but I still did not get a message, what producer was trying to say?

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1):
Kids say (4):

PAWN SACRIFICE is a fascinating look at high-level chess, but it's really about genius, madness, and the tenuous connection between them. Fischer is a wonder when he sits down to play, but when he's not engaged in a match, his life is -- at best -- a juggling act of coherence, paranoia, and delusion, making him often impossible to deal with. Maguire deserves lots of credit for bringing these complicated feelings to the screen, giving a compelling performance. It's not always clear whether Fischer's behavior is really due to mental illness or whether he's just trying to intimidate his opponents, and Maguire deftly depicts him as man on the edge, who may or may not have fallen off.

Director Edward Zwick wrings the tension out of chess moves that few audience members would grasp; he's helped by Peter Sarsgaard as Fischer's friend/coach, Father Bill Lombardy, whose facial expressions let viewers know whether a move is a blunder or an example of genius. Zwick also manages to imbue the matches with the sociopolitical implications they once carried, which were placed on Fischer's already-burdened shoulders. In the end, we definitely care about the outcome of the match, but we care more about the man who's moving the pieces.

Movie Details

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