When Beth Harmon is orphaned at a young age in the 1950s, she's placed in an orphanage where she's given drugs each day. On the advice of an older, more experienced orphan named Jolene, Beth (Isla Johnston) keeps the tranquilizers and takes them at night, sometimes hanging onto them for several days before taking them all at once for a hallucinogenic experience.
Because Beth finishes her tests more quickly than the other students, she's often asked to go to the basement to clean the chalk erasers. She finds the janitor playing chess alone and asks him to teach her the art of the game. A quick study, she's soon winning the games, revealing an astonishing talent.
When she's adopted at 15, Beth (Anya Taylor-Joy) finds a little more freedom, including the opportunity to enter a chess tournament with cash prizes. This begins her journey to stardom, while grappling with addiction.Canadian Connection: Partly filmed in Cambridge, Ontario.;