Searching for Bobby Fischer
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that at the core of this story is a valuable lesson about sportsmanship. Children in the 6-8 age bracket will enjoy seeing someone their own age intelligently portrayed, even if they don't quite grasp his particular gift or the situations it places him in. For older kids, this is one of the greatest movies around for demonstrating -- without preaching -- the value of decency and the payoff that comes from serious study.
What's the story?
Based on a true story, SEARCHING FOR BOBBY FISCHER centers on young chess prodigy Josh. While chess tutor Bruce (Ben Kingsley) helps the boy hone his skills for competition, Josh's parents (Joe Mantegna and Joan Allen), are strong and supportive. Mom tells him, "You have a good heart. And that's the most important thing in the world." Josh struggles with slipping into arrogance over his amazing talents, and he heads to a major competition intent on proving he's the best. But in the end, he learns that winning isn't everything.
Is it any good?
It takes confidence and loads of talent to make a movie about a boy who plays chess, and to make it riveting, but Steven Zaillian's directorial debut does just that. There are no clenched fists here, hardly a raised voice, and yet the movie is mesmerizing. There's a true sense of wonder in the scenes of Josh watching the chess players in the park, absorbing the intricacies of the game. That wonder is potent enough to spark an interest in young viewers, and encourage adults to take the board down from that dusty closet shelf. But an understanding of chess isn't vital to appreciating the movie, although a vague understanding does heighten the drama.
The characters, even the sideliners, are compelling, and a good streak of humor runs through the movie, especially in competition scenes when the nervous chess parents act less mature than their children.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about what good sportsmanship means.