What future was there in America, at the turn of the fifties and sixties, for a hard-working orphaned little girl who would love a sport that, by convention, could only be played by boys? Can you assert yourself with your talents in this world?
The world is an under-processed film, sports, Queen’s Gambit chess guide, Netflix costume mini-series, but the show is more than that. This isn’t just a sports movie, it’s also the story of a young girl growing up. Through a predominantly female perspective, we look at everyday life in America at the time, without avoiding serious topics like alcoholism or drug addiction.
The protagonist is young Beth Harmon (Mother Taylor-Joy), whose vomiting childhood trained her to learn to endure all situations. Growing up in an orphanage, the little girl’s rare talent in chess takes her life in a new direction: once she finds a game for herself, she is driven only by her passion for chess. And with his dedication, he catches the attention of those around him.
We were in America in the 60’s. Some of the women in the series face traditional female roles, while others, in vain, want to undress a certain ingrained role – so that they suffer from being stuck in certain situations or don’t even intend to leave them for acknowledging tradition. Beth’s path isn’t entirely aided by perfect women, but they all represent something from the world she grew up in. The most important character, however, is her mother, who raised her to be a single woman. He lives as a memory in her head, leaving behind many demons that Beth must face.
A female protagonist with a main character is a pioneer in what she does, like Enola Holmes or Anne in the costume series Anne with an E. The feminist tone lies in the basic situation and in the era itself, a central theme that is unavoidable, as female chess players must win among men. However, in the story, this decisive tone does not apply, it is very much proportional to the development of the protagonist character, the story of maturity, and the world of chess presented in the series. A series of matches followed each other, so if it was only minimal, but
we may feel like an insider in a world that many people don’t know much about.
The series presents Beth’s position as a woman in an ideal way – we don’t see a situation where she would have a serious disadvantage trying to follow a path she wasn’t traditionally assigned to (unlike in Mustang, where Turkish girls put their lives on the line. to escape, or in Unorthodox, where the protagonist’s escape is also unacceptable to the medium from which he escapes). The lead maker seems to be trying to explain the “light” with the girl’s extraordinary talent, but that idealization is well illustrated by Beth’s encounter with a Soviet chess player, who reveals that she’s never been able to play with a man before.
In the life of the protagonist, men also play a role that is at least as important as women, but more so from the side of the profession. With their support, they declared, accepted, accepted him among themselves. A clear sign of this is that there are people who want to help him progress professionally. But of course it’s also about how over the years Beth has caught the attention of women and men alike. However, Beth puts everything under professional advancement, including her relationships with men. Only his traumatic past and the resulting self-destruction can stand in the way of his success – and at some point he will almost bury the girl under himself. Putting all these memories in their place, handling them, will lead to the ultimate victory.
The twists and turns of seven sections, each episode of about an hour predictable in many places, but the story is compelling, understandable, and clear. Her acting was also a great hit, naturally, with Beth playing Mother Taylor-Joy After the Witch and Emma, she proved for the first time that she is one of the most talented young actresses in her profession.
The series is based on Walter Tevis’ 1983 novel of the same name. If we look at it as a sports film, the visual adaptation of the novel is no small task, as they have to make the game of chess visually appealing. No matter how interesting a particular situation was, it would become very monotonous time and time again. Apparently, this problem was also felt by the maker
spectacularly, every means is taken to present the game in a variety of ways.
Visually, however, this set is not uniform: it uses a variety of tools, which can be confusing. Not only in the field of camera movement, the lack of a strong concept can be felt. Visual play (e.g., montage, split-screen) — mostly coloring the chess game and translating the hallucinations of the chess game in Beth’s head into pictures — seemed a little awkward. On the other hand, the scenery, the place, the beautifully photographed interiors, and the clothes recreate the atmosphere of the era.
With the master, he happily combines sports film elements with the dramatic, bringing the protagonist’s problems to life, and we can get excited about him throughout the game, even if we can’t remember at the end of the series what he meant in chess by master.