‘The Act of Reading’ – Film Review – Filmhounds

A review of a new documentary exploring connection with Melville’s ‘Moby-Dick’.

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Have you read Moby-Dick? I’ve certainly tried. But, like many students, high schoolers, and people with a passing interest in tackling the classics, it would be fair to say that I’ve never been able to make it through Herman Melville’s masterwork. It’s a notoriously dense text, with lots of digressive moments of description of the in’s and out’s ye olde whaling business, caked into the thematically rich story of Ishmael chasing the great white whale. It is a text that is, of course, beloved and heralded as a stone-cold classic of American literature, regularly featuring on High School syllabuses, with kids struggling every year to connect with it. 

That struggle to connect to the text is what has inspired this documentary from filmmaker Mark Blumberg. Back in High School, he flunked his American Literature class when he failed to connect/finish Moby-Dick and produce a decent book report from it. Years later, now a filmmaker and having finished the book, he reconnects with his High School teacher and promises her that his new film will act as a belated attempt to complete his High School book report. 

Full review over at Filmhounds Magazine, originally published February 17th 2021.

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