Steve Zaillian, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Schindler's List, made his directorial debut with this critically acclaimed but little-seen drama based on the nonfiction book by Fred Waitzkin, about a father (Joe Mantegna) who discovers that his seven-year-old son (Max Pomeranc) is a genius at playing chess. The boy plays chess for fun, but when he's tutored by a former champion (Ben Kingsley) and entered into high-pressure competitions, an enjoyable pastime becomes a source of tension and resentment, forcing the father to reconsider his parental priorities. A poignant study of the difference between parental idealism and proper parenting, the movie is also an observantly witty portrait of a precocious child who is still, after all, a child, and still eager for the joyful discoveries of youth. While offering a fascinating look into the world of competitive chess, the movie's dramatically engrossing and extremely well-acted by a brilliant cast that also includes David Paymer, William H. Macy, and Dan Hedaya in memorable supporting roles. --Jeff Shannon
You have no idea what I want. What is chess, do you think? Those who play for fun or not at all dismiss it as a game. The ones who devote their lives to it for the most part insist that it's a science. It's neither. Bobby Fischer got underneath it like no one before and found at its center, art. I spent my life trying to play like him. Most of these guys have. But we're like forgers. We're competent fakes. His successor wasn't here tonight. He wasn't here. He is asleep in his room in your house. Your son creates like Fischer. He sees like him, inside.
You can tell this by watching him play some drunks in the park?
Yes. You want to know what I want. I'll tell you what I want. I want back what Bobby Fischer took with him when he disappeared.
He's not afraid of losing. He's afraid of losing your love. How many ball players grow up afraid of losing their fathers' love every time they come up to the plate?
All of them!
He knows you disapprove of him. He knows you think he's weak. But he's not weak. He's decent. And if you or Bruce or anyone else tries to beat that out of him, I swear to God I'll take him away.
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