Father and child sit together smiling while looking at a smart phone.

Want more recommendations for your family?

Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration

Parents' Guide to

The Speed Cubers

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Inspiring short docu about competition and friendship.

Movie PG 2020 40 minutes
The Speed Cubers Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 11+

Disappointing! Poorly structured and ableist

Parent of two autistic kids, one of whom is a competitive speed cuber: This film was poorly put together and, at times, offensive to autistic people, which is especially disappointing given the large number of autistic people who participate in the sport. I cringed watching it with my autistic son. It was painful to watch the ableist and patronizing way that Max Park (autistic cubing champion and one of the two main cubers featured) is talked about by his non-autistic parents. The filmmakers take an inspiration porn approach to Max's story, Max is repeatedly infantilized by his parents, and he is never given a chance to speak or otherwise share his own thoughts in the film. This is upsetting on many levels, but it is also just lazy filmmaking. The documentary is also very poorly paced and structured, perhaps because the winner of the competition turned out to be neither Park nor Zemdegs (the two main cubers featured). Feliks Zemdegs (who is given ample chances to talk) does come across as a genuinely lovely person in the film, but even he can't save a regrettable piece of storytelling. Common Sense Media should have the sense not to give this film top billing. As someone with a neurodiverse family, however, I find that CSM is often insensitive to ableism and inspiration porn in movies that feature disabled individuals, especially autistic people. It would be great to have some actually autistic people rating these films for CSM. BTW, there is a MUCH better documentary, Why We Cube, that features some of the same cubers, including Feliks and Max, available on YouTube. Max Park's parents also appear in it, but they are given far less screen time and the focus of Why We Cube is on cubing as a community. It is a much more positive and enjoyable film.
2 people found this helpful.
age 8+

Must-see family watching

This is one of the best documentaries we've ever seen for kids! The highlight is a beautiful example of selfless, 'other'-centered friendship that withstands the stress of two boys trying become the best Rubiks Cubers in the world. A must-see for every family.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5 ):
Kids say (6 ):

This begins as a typical documentary about dedicated kids competing under high pressure, but almost immediately becomes so much more. Director Kim offers an emotional, inspiring, uplifting story about overcoming obstacles, about parental wisdom and devotion, and about friendship between rivals who love each other. As The Speed Cubers describes, speed cubing requires cubers apply the mind-boggling ability to apply hundreds of algorithms in seconds as they combine that skill with extraordinary digital dexterity. Cubing fans may also enjoy Why We Cube: A Speedcubing Documentary and Cubers. Feliks Zemdegs hosts a YouTube channel on cubing tips and a website, CubeSkills, offering tutorials on how to solve Rubik's Cubes.

Movie Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate