Rocket Science Review

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Looking to break out of his cycle of loneliness, a stuttering student joins the high school debate team.


From the makers of Spellbound comes another tale of student life, this time about a lonely high-schooler with a speech impediment, coaxed onto the debate team by a wilful princess.

The characters are beautifully drawn in all their oddities and the teen actors do good work, but the film doesn’t support them. The story meanders and the indie stylings - eccentrics, stalking, parental misunderstandings - feel incidental to the main plot.

If the beauty of Spellbound was its focus on the kids and the competition, the weakness of this is its refusal to do the same. It’s a disservice to the cast of unknowns, led by the fantastic Reece Thompson, who deserve an indie break-out that this won’t quite manage.

Spellbound director Jeffrey Blitz fails to recapture the magic of his spelling bee doc with his latest effort - despite the best efforts of the talented unknowns that make up the cast.