‘Spelling the Dream’ Review: Netflix’s Inspiring Spelling Bee Doc Is an Unexpected Rallying Cry

‘Spelling the Dream’ Review: Netflix’s Inspiring Spelling Bee Doc Is an Unexpected Rallying Cry
Since the late ’90s, young Indian Americans have dominated the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee, which offers a competitive spelling stage each spring to hundreds of bright young minds, all 14 and younger. Over the years, the bee has broken into mainstream consciousness, thanks to wild winner stories and a growing interest in its competitive nature. In 2002, Jeffrey Blitz’s Oscar-nominated documentary “Spellbound” meticulously chronicled all the drama of the 1999 competition, unknowingly setting the stage for its inspiring followup, Sam Rega’s “Spelling the Dream.”

Anyone who has watched “Spellbound” — and that seems to include all of the central players in Rega’s film — surely remembers that year’s ultimate winner, Nupur Lala, whose big win unknowingly kicked off years of Indian American dominance at the annual event. Lala, who pops up as one of the doc’s many compelling talking heads (all of whom are of Indian descent and offer
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