a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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X+Y (A Brilliant Young Mind) (2014)
Morgan Matthews (Director) / James Graham (Writer)

An autistic teenager learns to deal with the death of his father and his first romance as he represents Britain in the International Mathematical Olympiad.

This film is very loosely based on the story of Daniel Lightwing who won a silver medal in the IMO and married a Chinese competitor he met there, but as it is often described as being "based on a true story" I think people watching it will mistakenly assume that the portrayal is much more accurate than it really is. If you watch this movie, and I do recommend it as the writing, acting and direction are all excellent, please keep in mind that it is really a work of fiction.

Thanks to Allan Goldberg for bringing it to my attention.

Contributed by CJ

As someone experiencing autism and also participates avidly in math contests, it hits close to home. The depiction of math camp is stunningly close to real life; perhaps sans the cutthroat competition, though those kind of people do exist. To be honest it was quite painful to watch because it was too relatable, but in a good way. The only thing off was the ending, which I felt was quite saccharine and cloying. Still a great movie.

Contributed by Laura

The acting and production of this movie are excellent. I wish the writers had stayed closer to the true story, however, instead of perpetuating the usual tiresome (and false) stereotypes regarding mathematical ability. In particular, the boy's mother is portrayed as a complete dunce with regard to math, unsure whether the number 48 is prime or not without referring to a card she carries. In reality, Daniel Lightfoot's mother was a math and science teacher. Even more inexplicably, the character of his long time math tutor that helps him compete for a spot on the British Mathematical Olympiad team is changed from a woman, Miggy Biller in real life, to a man with Multiple sclerosis so that he limps (message- to be a brilliant mathematician you have to be an awkward male). I would like for once see a story about a brilliant mathematician who is a sane, typically adjusted person, male or female. There were a couple supporting characters in the film that fit that description. What about their stories?

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Works Similar to X+Y (A Brilliant Young Mind)
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. In Our Prime [I-sang-han na-ra-eui su-hak-ja] by Lee Yong-jae (screenwriter) / Dong-hoon Park (director)
  2. Question 3 by Martin Sandahl (Director and Writer)
  3. The Ultimate Prime by Tom Petsinis
  4. The Square Root of 2 by Hackie Reitman (writer and director) / Bernard Salzmann (director)
  5. Golden Math [Suugaku Golden] by Kuramaru Tatsuhiko
  6. Super 30 by Vikas Bahl (director) / Sanjeev Dutta (writer)
  7. The Mirror Has Two Faces by Barbra Streisand (director) / Richard LaGravenese (Writer)
  8. Divide Me By Zero by Lara Vapnyar
  9. Lean Your Loneliness Slowly Against Mine [Lene din ensomhet langsomt mot min] by Klara Hveberg
  10. Miss Havilland by Gay Daly
Ratings for X+Y (A Brilliant Young Mind):
RatingsHave you seen/read this work of mathematical fiction? Then click here to enter your own votes on its mathematical content and literary quality or send me comments to post on this Webpage.
Mathematical Content:
3/5 (3 votes)
Literary Quality:
3.67/5 (3 votes)

MotifProdigies, Autism, Romance, Math Education,

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Exciting News: The 1,600th entry was recently added to this database of mathematical fiction! Also, for those of you interested in non-fictional math books let me (shamelessly) plug the recent release of the second edition of my soliton theory textbook.

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)