It even turned out to be a good "date movie," which may be the first time that term has ever been applied to a chess-themed documentary. But that is probably because Brooklyn Castle is not really about chess any more than the Batman movies are about flying rodents -- chess is just a prominent part of the scenery. On the most superficial level, it's a kids' competition movie that unconventionally has you rooting for the big bad favorites (I.S. 318, the Yankees of scholastic chess) rather than the plucky underdogs. Others may see it as a political advert for the funding of extracurricular programs. To me, though, the movie is about a handful of lovable (yes, lovable) Brooklyn kids who despite modest beginnings seem destined for greatness as if they are living out the early chapters of a Charles Dickens novel. Film critics may applaud the film for getting the audience to care about its characters, but that seems backwards to me, since these awesome kids are the ones responsible for making me care about the movie.
On a related note, I submitted an application last month to volunteer at the local Boys & Girls Club, but I was informed the club is not open on Saturday (my only free day). Seeing the movie reminded me that I should volunteer with kids somehow. I grew up in a small town in the middle of nowhere and now practice law in Beverly Hills. Without getting too personal, it is fair to say my parents were not exactly bankers, doctors, or lawyers and our version of a summer vacation was to drive a hundred miles and stay at a Holiday Inn. Without a point of reference, it can be difficult to realize (both meanings) what is achievable. This movie can help kids and communities to reach and dream beyond their immediate surroundings.
Here is a video interview with the film creator including excerpts from the movie!