Friday, 27 March 2015

REVIEW - X+Y (MORGAN MATTHEWS)


The better your intentions, the further they're likely to get you. Utterly average filmmaking often engenders below-average films, though, so mediocre filmmakers beware: buck up your intentions! X+Y has a nice, cute, well-intentioned premise, but its short-sightedness and its attraction toward cliche cut its potential power in half. The engendered result is, indeed, below-average. There's such empathy at the heart of this film that it's almost guaranteed to connect with even the most heartless of viewers, and the validity of this empathy is proven as X+Y tests all viewers' patience as real life does too. The difficulties of living with autism-spectrum disorders are delineated not only for the sufferers but for those in their company. That empathy is deeply well-intentioned, and the intentions are pure as far as they reach - what of the equally compelling struggles of those in the company of our withdrawn protagonist? Asa Butterfield is an ideal lead, and he gets the characterisation spot on, but it was the beaten-down sensitivity of Sally Hawkins' character, a loving mother who feels unloved in return, that most drew my empathy out (and I'm an AS sufferer myself). Either character's story might have been more compelling still had it not been for the aforementioned average filmmaking; flattering lighting, quotable scripting, pedestrian editing, unambitious framing, predictable plotting - all present and incorrect, ensuring that no amount of good intentions can get X+Y very far at all. Another one for the coffee table.