As a 14 year-old on the cusp of his 15th birthday, Bobby Fischer won the U.S. Chess Championship in 1958, giving him the title of International Master. Later that same year, he broke future opponent Boris Spassky's record to become the youngest World Chess Federation Grand Master; Bobby was 15, and Boris was 18 when he set the distinction. The two names would become linked forever in chess history. When the two first played each other in 1960, Fischer lost during an Argentine tournament, though the two tied and were co-winners of the tourney. He would not beat Spassky until their famous world title match in Iceland in 1972. See more »
In game 2, which Fischer forfeited, Spassky is shown waiting around for an hour before the arbiter declared the forfeit. In reality, he quickly grew uncomfortable waiting, and left the room after five minutes (which is perfectly legal under the rules), leaving the audience watching two empty chairs for about 55 minutes until the arbiter declared the forfeit. See more »
Was hesitant to watch this - didn't like the casting of Maguire as Fischer. Ended up watching it anyway out of curiosity as this story has intrigued me for many years. I still think Maguire was the wrong choice to play Fischer. I would like to have seen Ryan Gosling or a younger Josh Lucas attempt it. At least somebody who could carry off that particular New York accent as that was one of his hallmarks for me. But that notwithstanding, if Tobey was the only choice available then I think he did a hell of a good job. I really enjoyed this. Edward Zwick knows how to put a movie together. Great supporting performances from Sarsgaard, Stuhlbarg and Schreiber. Having followed the story before I got the general impression they were trying to remain faithful to what happened at the chess championship in '72. I'm not sure how much of the mental illness stuff I buy. Clearly there was some kind of paranoia going on there - and the film deals with that well - but I think a lot is projected onto this after the fact. Secondary gains. A lot is conveniently bundled into the mental illness bucket which may just have just been the man's world view. And I think that is disrespectful to a brilliant man who is no longer here to defend himself. But that's not so much a criticism of the film as the general view of Fischer out there now. That said, I think this particular film probably handled it more respectfully than most would have done. So overall it was a lot better than expected. Definitely worth a watch - it's an extraordinary real life story about the extremes of obsession required to compete at that level, and the toll that it can, and often does, take. A subject not too often tackled in a world that worships competition for prizes.
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