The Speed Cubers

Movie review by Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
The Speed Cubers Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 8+

Inspiring short docu about competition and friendship.

PG 2020 40 minutes

Parents say

age 8+

Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 9+

Based on 6 reviews

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Community 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.
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

Movie Details

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