10 best movies about young geniuses


There are a lot of benefits to being born with an unusually high IQ, but often incredible intelligence brings quite a few hurdles. Some of these take the form of feeling ostracized from their peers, while others boil down to not having the privilege of being born in a place – or time – where talents intellectuals can be recognized and cultivated.

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Whether it’s 12-year-old chess masters, 7-year-old mathematicians, or spectrum teens who need to balance knowing a lot about calculus and knowing very little about how to relate to people, the young geniuses featured in these movies don’t just showcase their above average intelligence as if it’s a superpower, but rather juxtapose it with the realities of what that kind of gift would be for a youngster across the divisions racial, economic and social.

ten Real Genius (1985) – Available on Prime

Chris Knight (Val Kilmer) reviewing the laser project with Mitch Taylor (Gabriel Jarret) in Real Genius

A classic from the 80s, True Genius follows a science genius who is accepted to Pacific Tech and is matched with a senior working on a laser. While first year Mitch doesn’t quite like Chris’ nonchalant attitude towards the project, they end up forming a bond as it progresses, eventually standing up to government officials who would use the laser as a armed.

Although light in the practical scientific application, the film reminds its geniuses that there is more to life than what they are truly good at. Geniuses come in all forms, and it’s important that the film shows that not all intellectually gifted people adhere to the trope of being socially inept and completely obsessed with a certain field. Aside from being one of Val Kilmer’s best films, his performance as lazy genius Chris Knight, undisputed by his program, is as relevant as Gabriel Jarret’s more bookish version.

9 In Search of Bobby Fischer (1993) – Available on Prime

Finding Bobby Fisher

Considered a chess prodigy and heir apparent to Bobby Fischer’s legacy, Josh, 7, competes in speed chess at the local park, learning the intricacies of the game from sarcastic con artist Vinnie. Josh’s parents want him to have a professional trainer, but the stress of his more disciplined methods combined with increasing competition threatens Josh’s love of the game.

Both a heartwarming family drama and one of the best chess movies around, Finding Bobby Fischer examines both what happens when a child is not allowed to be a child because of their unusual talents and the different ways they can develop those talents. When adults stop listening to a child’s needs, they may come to view their gifts as a curse.

8 Strange Science (1985) – Available on Hulu

When two science enthusiasts learn how to create the “perfect” woman using a computer program they have developed, they never expect to meet her, but a storm and an electrical surge blow her up. screen to the bodily world.

While Strange sciences adheres to tropes that geniuses are antisocial nerds and lack friends (think Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory) for comedic relief, the other characters aren’t necessarily portrayed in a better light, placing popularity higher than compassion. And as for Lisa, the perfect woman is perfectly capable of coping. While she updates their looks and makes them the envy of all their friends, she also gives them invaluable insight into their attitudes towards women.

7 Artemis Fowl (2020) – Available on Disney +

Based on the popular YA book series of the same name, Artemis Poultry chronicles the adventures of a 12-year-old genius who descends from criminal brains and unwittingly finds himself in the middle of a battle with sinister fae that may have something to do with his father’s disappearance.

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Practical, resourceful and charming, Artemis Fowl is a dynamic hero who appears, unlike some portrayals of child prodigies, also confident and good about himself. In designer costumes and with the latest technology, being a young genius has never been so cool! It’s a shame that the film took two decades to be made and feels rushed, because the series deserves more attention.

6 Good Will Hunting (1997) – Available on Hulu

Matt Damon does math in Good Will Hunting

Instead of attending, young Will Hunting works as a janitor at MIT despite the IQ of a genius. One of the teachers finds him solving a math problem that has baffled most of his students, and he decides to help him realize his true potential. When Will reveals signs of aggression and has a run-in with local law enforcement, he obtains leniency by seeking therapy.

The very famous film (written by co-stars Matt Damon and Ben Affleck) gives a humanistic side to the genius, often showing how he does not appear in a typical way and can go unnoticed if it belongs to the more contemplative of us. . It also reveals the burden of intelligence, how it can affect someone’s emotion, and how praise and recognition is not always desired.

5 Queen of Katwe (2016) – Available on Disney +

For a 10-year-old living in a slum in Katwe, learning chess from a missionary and a local football coach offers a chance to change his life towards a bright future across Uganda and beyond. As she excels first in local competitions, then in more internationally recognized tournaments, she realizes that her prowess with the game has the capacity to lift her and her family out of a life of poverty.

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Queen of Katwe, based on the true story of child prodigy Phiona Mutesi and her incredible journey, highlights unknown geniuses living in parts of the world without access to the privileges that would allow their talent to be recognized and developed, as well as unique burdens they face.

4 X + Y (2014) – Available on Prime

Nathan (Asa Butterfield) talks with Julie (Sally Hawkins) outside of school at X + Y

A young math prodigy who struggles to form relationships and maintain friends goes to the International Mathematical Olympiad, eventually befriending a young girl and another competitor who understands and accepts him as it is. In the process, he begins to flourish in ways he never thought possible.

X + Y (sometimes marketed as A beautiful young spirit) is a self-contained, rewarding film that focuses on a teenage genius who recognizes his lack of empathy and develops ways to navigate the world while on the autism spectrum. This does not minimize his challenges and allows him to make decisions with confidence.

3 Fresh (1994) – Available on Prime

Play chess in Fresh

A young chess player finds ways to distract himself from the harsh realities of ghetto life by playing against his dad, a speed chess champion, between races for a local drug lord. In an effort to escape the cycle of poverty, he uses his chess skills to weave a complex strategy against his boss to break free and his family.

Costs offers a flawless look at the life of a 12-year-old genius in a poor neighborhood with little prospect or way out, other than developing his impressive mental abilities. The complexity of the plot and its final denouement testify to the ingenuity of the young leader, who, like in chess, keeps his cool even against the most calculating opponents.

2 Little Man Tate (1991) – Available on YouTube

When a single mom decides her 7 year old son needs to be surrounded by other kids with genius IQs, she sends him to an exclusive summer camp run by a revered child psychologist, who was her. – even a child prodigy. His son develops his intellectual talents through the camp program and activities, but when he prepares for a TV ending, he struggles to continue his education or have a normal childhood.

Little man Tate is impressive for two reasons – this is Jodie Foster’s unforgettable debut film, and deals with themes of classism in the realm of child geniuses, focusing on the economic and emotional struggles that can follow children who are different from their peers. in more than one way.

1 Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) – Available on Pluto

Elizabeth Hardy (Sophie Ward) smiling next to John Watson (Alan Cox) and Sherlock Holmes (Nicholas Rowe) in Young Sherlock Holmes

Before being known as the world’s greatest sleuth, Sherlock Holmes was a young boy who solved crimes with his school pal Watson. Together, they abandon their boarding school’s schoolyard for the middle streets of London, intending to solve a mystery involving a secret society, and possibly Holmes’ mentor and principal.

Produced by Steven Spielberg and featuring the first visual effects of Industrial Light & Magic, Young Sherlock Holmes is an exciting adventure that redefines Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic Holmes canon, starring one of literature’s smartest characters and his best friend, laying the groundwork for the dynamic duo that fans know and love.

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