Movie Review – Dumbstruck (2010)

Director: Mark Goffman

Dumbstruck is a documentary that follows five ventriloquists who all have different levels of fame. Terry Fator is the most famous one, having won America’s Got Talent and been signed to Las Vegas. Kim has devoted herself to following her dream while her parents want her to drop it and focus on settling down. Dylan is barely a teenager and is taking his first tentative steps into the business. Dan is a mainstay on the cruise ships and in this way he takes his act all over the world. Finally, Wilma just wants to make people laugh.

Ventriloquism is always something of a joke and this films attempts to show the people behind the puppets with five very different stories. What comes across most, however, is how tight the community of ventriloquists are. Even when Terry Fator wins America’s Got Talent he still makes it to the convention and speaks with the rest of the community. Kim’s story is somewhat tragic in the sense that she seems like she’s going to be one of those people who have the passion and the desire but aren’t quite going to make it. Dan and Wilma’s stories were tough to watch in places, Dan’s because it shows the cost of following your dreams, and Wilma’s because it shows you how people can be cruel.  Dylan’s was the least interesting to me.

As a documentary it definitely served its purpose and the people that it followed were mostly interesting. If you’re interest is piqued at all by this then check it out!

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