15 years ago, director Mark Blumberg flunked high school English class when he failed to read Moby Dick. Only now does he realize how much he loves the book so he’s decided to reach back to the teacher that failed him and present a book report for it in the form of a documentary.
Finish this film — which he sees as “nothing less than a comprehensive portrait of the reading mind,” Blumberg meets scholars, scientists, teachers and even visits an annual reading marathon of the book. He even gets the opportunity to film two of Melville’s living descendants and learn what the book means to them.
Like any creation of art, this deeply personal project begins to take a toll on the filmmaker, who starts to realize that this is less about finishing a book that he ignored when he was a teen and more about fixing himself right now.
The Art of Reading is the kind of documentary that I love, one that starts in once place and leaves behind changed lives when its complete.