Well, the reviewer before me absolutely trashed this film for its dramatic license, so now I don't know what to say.
This is the highly fictionalized story of Bobby Fischer, a chess fanatic and genius who rose to the very top of his field. He was part of a Russia vs. U.S. superiority struggle when he played Boris Spassky (Liev Schreiber), the world champion back then, in the '70s. It's unlikely he understood that; he didn't have a broad or worldly focus. The chess was all he cared about, that and money.
Biopics sometimes take a lot of liberties. Characters are made up, time is shortened, incidents are moved around, elements are put in for dramatic emphasis. That's why you can't take a biographical film as factual. It's better if you become interested in the person and read about him, as I did about Fischer, though I remember him.
Toby Maguire does a fantastic job as Fischer. Yes, Fischer was tall and Maguire is short. Frankly I wasn't made aware of Maguire's height while watching the film.
I believe the filmmakers were trying to give us a psychological story -- a complete genius with an IQ of 181 but one who also had mental problems. Lots of so-called geniuses are strange, I suppose, but Fischer was a real study in opposites.
He often made unreasonable, last-minute demands, made anti-Semite remarks, and accused the Russians of colluding against him. In the second game of his world championship against Spassky, he didn't show up. Nevertheless, his achievements in chess were remarkable, and many consider him the greatest chess player who ever lived.
His later life was a mess; he became reclusive; his passport was revoked and finally, Iceland took him in. By then he was off the wall completely.
Edward Zwick directed this film with a lot of zip and made it an intense and absorbing experience, as did the actors.
Look at this as the psychological story of a phenomenal talent whose emotional/mental problems interfered with his life and career. Don't take it as the detailed life of Bobby Fischer, his relationship with his mother, and who taught him what. The most interesting thing about him was his incredible talent.
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