X+Y - a film featuring MS

Evening all

For those of you who are either interested in seeing representations of MS on screen, or who simply enjoy going to the cinema, there’s a film out at the moment called X+Y where one of the central characters has MS. So it’s not a film about MS - it’s actually about a kid with Aspergers who gets mentored by his teacher (who happens to have MS). It stars Eddie Marsden & Sally Hawkins, and they’re always fantastic in everything they do, and it’s been getting decent reviews. I’ve not seen it yet, but am hoping to in the next few days. (This is the trailer - X+Y Trailer | Festival 2014 - YouTube)



The only review I heard (which was on Front Row) seemed to think it was a good film, but that the MS was a bit superfluous to the plot. They thought the producers had over-egged it a bit, by giving the central character an Autististic Spectrum disorder, and then making the teacher have MS as well. You don’t really need two serious conditions in one story, and one of them tends to become a bit redundant. In this case I gather it was the MS.


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Hi Dan

Just watched the clip, it looks good. I will buy it when it’s out on amazon.

At least the teacher is showing the signs of outward disability and obvious struggle.

From the bit I’ve seen, it looks like two people finding a common bond. Look forward to seeing it.


thanks dan

i’m going to ask my friend who has an interest in ms as her daughter has it.

always like a good film!

carole xx

Shall look out for this - we have several teachers on this forum. And we are aware of the struggles they have day to day.

Tina, I did laugh out loud at your deadpan report of the film critics’ having solemnly declared MS to be a little de trop!


Absolutely no facetiousness intended (this time! ) That was exactly as the review came across: that the MS wasn’t really central to the story, which would have worked just as well without it!

Obviously, for any of us with it, I realise it’s always central to the story - there’s no escaping that. But in terms of dramatic contribution to the film, it seems (judging only by the single review I heard) it was shoehorned in with no really convincing purpose.

Perhaps it was “the MacGuffin”.



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I remember reading a novelist’s words (I cannot remember whose) about plots and plausibility. He or she said that it is very difficult to convince a reader that a plot is plausible even when it is miles more plausible than real life can be. The point being that we tend to underestimate how bizarre real life is, so we poo-poo artists’ attempts to incorporate that sort of bizarreness in story-lines (and it sounds as though that is exactly what is happening with your solemn critics saying that it stretches credulity to have two ailments/developmental troubles in one film…).

Real life is miles more outrageously bizarre than novelists or playwrights dare to portray! Which is frustrating for the artist, but might say something interesting about how hard we cling to our (false!) hopes that life will play fair and show some restraint and decorum.



I suppose it’s not that it’s unrealistic such a thing might happen, but whether it contributes to the plot or not.

Books and films leave out loads that is perfectly authentic, but nevertheless not crucial to the story. The archetypal example being that people in films are never seen needing the loo - unless there’s going to be some dramatic incident where they get trapped or confronted in there, or discover they’re bleeding or something!

It wouldn’t put me off seeing the film, it’s just that one of the characters having MS is allegedly a bit circumstantial.

I’m reminded of a law exam, years ago. A scenario was painted where it was obvious one of the parties was gay, and you had to give a legal opinion on the circumstances as given. I couldn’t for the life of me work out what bearing anybody’s sexual orientation had on the legal position, as I think it was a traffic accident or something!

But I wasted a lot of time on the question worrying WHY the person’s orientation had been given. Typically, in a law question, there’s very little information you’re not supposed to pick up and use in some way, so I kept wondering: “Why is he gay? WHY is he gay?” Is there some discrimination angle I’m not picking up on?

It turned out it had no bearing at all on the legal implications of what was, after all, a straightforward liability case about a road accident!

It seems the examiners had included it out of political correctness - after all, parties in road accidents aren’t all straight! But whilst it may have been authentic, it didn’t advance the story at all. You absolutely did NOT need to know the sexual orientation of anyone to be able to opine on their liability for negligence, so the information was overkill.



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This made me chuckle I work in a special needs unit and the students in my class are all on the spectrum and I have ms! But saying as I consider myself a good ta my Ms always gets put in the background which is nice. But I guess I don’t see the point of both conditions in one film!!! Anyway made me smile :slight_smile:

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There’s some interesting comments there! I listened to the review on Kermode & Mayo’s Film Review earlier. and Mark Kermode didn’t mention the MS thing at all. I think the story’s based on a true story too, though of course that doesn’t mean the MS isn’t a bit of artistic licence. I’m going to see it anyway, but not because of the MS angle; it’s just because I think any film that features Maths, Eddie Marsden & Sallly Hawkins cam only be a good thing : )



It looks a very interesting film. The story will possible highlight the struggles the two characters go through o achieve their goal. The teachers ms to me seems only an added thing to make their journey harder. I look forward to seeing the film!