The dramatic directing debut of British documentarian Morgan Matthews, A Brilliant Young Mind is another addition to the growing list of empathic tales concerning people on the autistic spectrum. For British teenager Nathan Ellis (Asa Butterfield), who struggles to communicate, math is a bridge to the rest of the world.

Obsessed with numbers, patterns and the order of things, young Nathan poses an incredible challenge to his blue collar parents, Julie (Sally Hawkins) and Michael (Martin McCann). He speaks little, yet his brain is always working to solve complicated numerical equations. His father finds ways to get the boy to open up, mostly by acting silly. Tragedy strikes when Michael is killed in a car accident. Nathan’s carefully ordered life is shattered in a way he can’t begin to understand.

Nathan holed up in his bedroom scribbling down math equations and formulas, rather than speak to his grieving mom. Because he can longer test at a primary school level, Nathan is introduced to Martin Humphreys (Rafe Spall), a math genius with multiple sclerosis who once tried out for the International Mathematics Olympiad. With Humphrey’s help Nathan competes for a spot on Britain’s IMO team.

A Brilliant Young Mind starts rather slowly, but things really pick up as Nathan travels to the IMO tryouts in Taiwan. While his incredible math skills are important, it’s here that the story begins to focus on his emotional needs and those of the people around him. At home he’s an odd duck whose intellectual abilities make him stand out like a sore thumb, but in Taiwan he finds himself among like-minded individuals. He begins to bond with Zhang Mei (Jo Yang), a Chinese competitor who helps him overcome social anxieties and break out of his shell. Slowly he opens his heart to love and learns about the cruelty of bullying.

Asa Butterfield’s performance is impressive. Largely physical, Butterflied reveals much about Nathan’s various emotions through a serious of facial expressions and careful hand gestures. When he does speak, Butterfield makes sure you care what Nathan has say. Sally Hawkins and Rafe Spall work very well together, sharing an obvious chemistry, which adds a sense of realism to the subplot concerning a romance between the two. Jo Yang is bright and bubbly as Zhang Mei, bringing positive energy to every scene she’s in.

Presented in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio, this anamorphic widescreen DVD looks great. Colors are bright and bold throughout, with no signs of bleed or fading. The image is clear with no dust, scratches, or other anomalies to speak of.

The included English 5.1 Dolby Digital audio suits this dialogue heavy film very well. Largely placed in the center channel, dialogue has been well recorded with no noticeable flaws. The films soundtrack, featuring songs by Keaton Henson, has been well intergrated, never interfering with dialogue.

English, English SDH and Spanish subtitles are included.

There are no extras available.