Josh Waitzkin is just a typical American boy interested in baseball when one day he challenges his father at chess and wins. Showing unusual precocity at the outdoor matches at Washington Square in New York City, he quickly makes friends with a hustler named Vinnie who teaches him speed chess. Josh's parents hire a renowned chess coach, Bruce, who teaches Josh the usefulness of measured planning. Along the way Josh becomes tired of Bruce's system and chess in general and purposely throws a match, leaving the prospects of winning a national championship in serious jeopardy.Written by
Rick Gregory <email@example.com>
The real Bruce Pandolfini is very different from the character Sir Ben Kingsley plays. Pandolfini is actually a Brooklynite with a mustache, glasses, and curly brown hair, and he is reported to have a very friendly, soft-spoken demeanor. In fact, Pandolfini can be seen in a cameo role in the movie. He is a kibitzer when Sir Ben Kingsley goes to see Josh in Washington Square. Thus, Pandolfini tells "Pandolfinni" that Josh is a "young Fischer". Josh Waitzkin is quick to point out that the portrayal in this movie is fiction, and should not be confused with reality. See more »
Ben Kingsley portrays Bruce Pandolfini as speaking with an Irish accent. Pandolfini is a New Yorker of Italian and Jewish heritage, and has no such accent. See more »
[about Bobby Fischer]
In the days before the event, the whole world wondered if he would show up. Plane after plane waited on the runway, while he napped, took walks, and ate sandwiches. Henry Kissinger called and asked him to go for his country's honor. Soon after arriving, he offended the Icelanders by calling their country inadequate because it had no bowling alleys. He complained about the TV cameras, about the lighting, about the table and chairs, and the contrast of the ...
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The original film ends with a title card stating that Josh still plays chess
along with several other activities, indicating that he has a well-rounded life. When the film was broadcast on NBC in 1996, this title card was updated: it now stated that Josh was working to become a grandmaster, and that he now considered Jack Kerouac, not Bobby Fischer, to be his primary influence.
One of the best things about "Searching for Bobby Fischer" is that it brilliantly captures the essence of the book it was based on. Fred Waitzkin's book is not just about chess but focuses much on the relationship between a father and his son. The film does exactly the same and the interaction between the actors is handled skilfully by its director. This is without doubt one of the best sports movies I have seen in a while, you feel an intense level of excitement throughout the chess games and there is a great blend of poignancy, humour and serious drama also at play. Ben Kingsley is fantastic as Bruce Pandolfini and his scenes with the young Max Pomeranc are a joy to watch. Max Pomeranc who plays Josh Waitzkin is perfect in the lead role and really shows he is the heart of the movie. Adapting books to films has never been an easy task but this one is probably one of the best adaptations I have ever seen.
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