Dislecksia: The Movie: Film Review

This breezily entertaining and informative documentary deserves attention.

Harvey Hubbell V's documentary sheds light on a little understood condition.

If you’re reading this review with no difficulty, then you’re clearly not afflicted with the titular subject of Dislecksia: The Movie, Harvey Hubbell V’s informative and surprisingly entertaining examination of the condition that is estimated to afflict up to 35 million Americans. The filmmaker, a dyslexic himself, makes a passionate and convincing argument for it being a learning difference rather than a learning disability. While the distinction may seem narrow, it’s of vital importance to those who have been stigmatized as a result of it.

Hubbell begins his film on a personal note, relating his own childhood difficulties in school in the 1960s and ‘70s when dyslexia was little understood and those who suffered from it were labeled as either learning disabled or simply troubled. Notes to his parents from his teachers vividly illustrate their frustration with his performance in the classroom.

Besides delivering an array of provocative statistics—three out of ten British millionaires are dyslexic, and 85% of juvenile offenders have reading problems, etc.—the film features interviews with various celebrities who candidly discuss their own dyslexia, including Billy Bob Thornton, actor Joe Pantoliano, Tae Bo creator Billy Blanks, famed lawyer David Boies and the late Stephen J. Cannell, the creator of such hugely successful television series as The Rockford Files and The A-Team. We’re informed that Albert Einstein was dyslexic, and that such historical figures as Leonardo da Vinci and Lee Harvey Oswald may have been as well.

Other interview subjects include many scientists and academics, who discuss both the historical aspects of dyslexia (“Some guy invented the alphabet and screwed a lot of people up”) and the scientific and academic advances that have done so much to help those suffering from it, including computer programs that facilitate easier reading.

“Technology has caught up with the dyslexic brain,” one comments.

While the subject matter may seem a bit daunting to the casual viewer, the filmmaker’s lighthearted and frequently imaginative approach to the material makes it go down easy. And it performs a vital service in bringing a greater awareness and knowledge of a condition that is too frequently misunderstood.

Opens: Oct. 4 (Area 23a)

Production: Captured Time Productions

Director: Harvey Hubbell V

Screenwriters/producers: Eric Garder, Harvey Hubbel V

Director of photography/editor: Eric Gardner

Composer: Michael Bacon

Not rated, 83 min.

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