8 user 7 critic

A Little Game (2014)

A young girl finding her way around the city and her own life through chess lessons. This is also about being open to all the clues about your life and your options that surround you everyday.


Evan Oppenheimer
2 wins. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Ralph Macchio ... Tom
Janeane Garofalo ... Sarah Kuftinec
F. Murray Abraham ... Norman Wallach
Olympia Dukakis ... YaYa
Oona Laurence ... Becky
Rachel Dratch ... Aunt Diane
Gabriel Rush ... Jaden
Tovah Feldshuh ... Blackstone Head of School
Kimberly Quinn ... Laura
Fatima Ptacek ... Isabella
Fina Strazza Fina Strazza ... Jez
Frank Pando ... Officer
Catherine Urbanek ... Jessica
Graci Carli ... Dream Mom
Jaden Michael ... Max 1
Learn more

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Ignored by the rich kids at her new school and shaken by the death of her beloved grandmother, a 10-year-old girl finds an unlikely friend in the form of a feisty chess master, who uses the game to teach her about life. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Believe you can win.


Adventure | Family

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild language and thematic elements

Did You Know?


Board for the final chess game was initially turned the wrong way. A white square should always be on the player's right side. See more »


Max and Becky are on the playground discussing Olive and her pictures. First Becky gets up and goes over to Olive, then motions for Max to come join them. When Max gets up a compress (or ice pack) is visible just above the knee of her left leg. See more »

Crazy Credits

Filmed entirely in New York City. Obviously. See more »

User Reviews

A little gem about a gifted child
9 February 2015 | by scurvytoonSee all my reviews

Starring Makenna Ballard in her first credited role ever apparently, she stands out among a heavy hitting cast that are clearly enjoying themselves. A little Game tells the story of Max a 10 year old city girl growing up in NYC with ethnic parents who work hard at jobs that don't pay nearly as well as they should. Max is a gifted student who is not challenged by her current school and her parents sacrifice to get her into a special private school for others like her.

Told from within the bubble of Max's understanding of normal, challenging, right & wrong, the film follows her experiences as she seeks to find her own place when she asks one of the old men playing chess in the park to teach her the game. Her family and friends drift in and out of the story as they intrude on her private thoughts and immediate life.

Olympia Dukakis as Max's grandmother sets the tone when she tells her not to let life happen to her but that she should happen to life.

An interesting insulated slice of life in New York, the movie shines a light on the more imaginative escapist life of a gifted child with great accuracy and gentleness without ever wandering into the darker corners that would have changed the light nature of this wonderful film. Suitable for both children an adults, A little game compares favourably with The World of Henry Orient. Some of the fantasy elements do interfere with the narrative, but not so much as to ruin the story.

I'll gladly watch this one again any time it comes up.

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Release Date:

26 April 2014 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Little Game See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

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