Spelling the Dream

Director: Sam Rega
Year Released: 2020
Rating: 2.0

For the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee competition, there was an eight-way tie for the championship, and of those winners, seven of them were Indian-American, so documentarian Rega sets out to find out why that group of people - despite being only 1% of the population of this country - are so darned good at spelling.  The mood is mostly celebratory - and why not, these kids are precocious and sweet - and the answer given to the central question is that these children come from multi-lingual families that emigrated to America from India with a lot of drive and determination.  However, speaking as an educator, I was a little concerned with the fact that the term "tiger parent" was only mentioned once - and quickly brushed aside like it's no big deal - because the truth is a lot of these children undergo a tremendous amount of pressure from their families to be "the best," ignoring the stress and anxiety that can (and do) have negative psychological effects on them.  The individuals highlighted here seem mostly well-adjusted, but what about those that aren't?