Searching For Bobby Fischer


(out of 5)

Young Josh Waitzin () feels only passably amused by the activities and sports he enjoys with his friends, until one day in the park with his mother he discovers something captivating: chess. When his parents Fred and Bonnie ( and ) realize he’s something of a prodigy, they immediately get him lessons with world-renowned teacher Bruce Pandolfini (), who was once the teacher of the notoriously famous chess champion Bobby Fischer. Josh excels under his leadership and wins many tournament trophies, but eventually the pressures of trying to be good enough for his driven father get to be too much and he starts to wander off his game. This inspires Mantegna to slow down and wonder just what he hopes to get out of pushing his child so hard. Based on Fred Waitzkin’s nonfiction book, this beautifully photographed, richly enjoyable film benefits from top-notch direction and writing by newcomer Steven Zaillian, who casts every part with notable genius. Allen is fantastic as the mother who won’t let her son’s goodness be degraded by the focus on a competitive spirit that surrounds him, and  is terrific as a Washington Square junkie who plays speed chess for cash. Also look for early appearances by  as Josh’s teacher, and  as another tournament competitor’s father.

USA, 1993

Directed by

Screenplay by Steven Zaillian, based on the book by 

Cinematography by 

Produced by ,

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Academy Awards:  1993



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