.

Searching for Bobby Fischer

Ben Kingsley

Directed by Steve Zaillian
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
August 11, 1993

It's no snap making chess a subject of high drama for nonfanatics. Sportswriter Fred Waitzkin found a way by telling about his chess prodigy son, Josh, in the book Searching for Bobby Fischer. Now writer Steven Zaillian (Awakenings), in his directing debut, turns Josh's story into a riveting screen adventure. Seven-year-old Josh, played by Max Pomeranc, shows promise of becoming as good as Fischer, the reclusive champ he idolizes. Josh can amaze a speed-chess hustler like Vinnie (a vivid Laurence Fishburne) or a strict teacher like Bruce Pandolfini (a superb Ben Kingsley). For Josh's dad, solidly played by Joe Mantegna, it's harder to overlook the squeeze that chess is putting on Josh's childhood.

Pomeranc, a top-100 chess player himself, delivers a finely tuned performance without child-actor hamming. He subtly draws us into the joy and frustration that competing brings to Josh. More perversely fascinating are the scenes on the periphery of the chess world, where former prodigies and champs cling obsessively to the glory days. Credit Zaillian for risks that go beyond making a stand-up-and-cheer movie about a sit-down game.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Try a Little Tenderness”

    Otis Redding | 1966

    This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com