A spirited, empathetic attempt to turn a legacy of educational shame into a call for understanding and action, Harvey Hubbell V's documentary, "Dislecksia: The Movie," has a necessary charge to it, but also a distractingly goofy side.
If you only think of dyslexia as the "rearranging letters" condition — like some quirky trait — Hubbell, himself dyslexic, is quick to communicate how debilitating a reading disability can be to a child who isn't progressing at the rate of his or her peers and who isn't given the tools to manage it. "They gave me a diploma," Hubbell says at one point about his own fraught experiences growing up, "but they didn't give me the skills to fill out a job application."
Through interviews with successful dyslexics (including Billy Bob Thornton and the late TV impresario Stephen J. Cannell), experts, scientists and forward-thinking educators bringing the latest learning techniques to schools, Hubbell paints a bracing picture of dyslexia's journey from nonexistent awareness to sputtering concern to all-out political advocacy. You just have to get through Hubbell's relentlessly jokey music cues and overuse of stock footage for (not so) comic effect, which thankfully never undercut his mission to inform and inspire about something so routinely misunderstood.
'Dislecksia: The Movie'
MPAA rating: None
Running time: 1 hour, 23 minutes.
Playing: At Laemmle Music Hall.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times