Incredibly cute, inspiring and jaw-dropping, are the three words that come to mind when we think of Netflix’s new documentary, The Speed Cubers.
Set within the quirky, competitive world of speedcubing, this is the story of the rivalry/friendship between the two best Rubiks Cube solvers in the world – 17-year-old Max Park and 23-year-old Feliks Zemdegs.
The 40-min film takes us on a journey as we watch both boys prepare for the 2019 championship, in which they’ll both compete to take the world title.
It starts by introducing us to Feliks – an Australian cuber, who initially held all the world titles.
That is until, Max, an American teen with autism, came and beat every single one of his records, except for the 3×3 Rubiks challenge, also known as the “main event” for cubers.
Feliks first noticed Max online as he was able to complete cubes with just one hand at a ridiculously fast rate – we’re talking between five and seven seconds here.
In the doc, he admits it was “annoying” to have his much younger counterpart beat him, nevertheless he never fails to applaud him.
Despite the fact they’re basically competitors, Max and Feliks have an unbreakable friendship which melts your heart throughout the documentary.
Every single time Max beats a record, Feliks is right there to congratulate him, although this essentially means he’s being knocked down to second place.
It just goes to shows how selfless people can be, and how as a champion you can pass on the baton gracefully and it doesn’t have to take away from your own achievements – with Max truly admiring Feliks.
The documentary pulls further at your heartstrings, as Max’s parents talk of his diagnosis, with his mother admitting it was as though he’d “lost his future” when they heard about his disability.
Nevertheless, the determination they have as parents to defy all the odds – which started with his mother teaching him how to complete a Rubiks Cube – is extremely empowering.
Here, we have Max who couldn’t use his hands at a young age, due to poor motor skills, now winning championships for his outstanding dexterity.
As the film progresses, we see how his love for cubing and his relationship with Feliks helps him to overcome challenges often faced by people with autism.
We watch first-hand, the growth and confidence he gains from doing something he loves.
The world champ for most cubing challenges, Max has never lost a game – something his parents talk profusely about as they fear he won’t be able to handle his emotions if he were to lose.
This is where Feliks comes in, acting as a sort of mentor to Max. If Feliks does something, Max mirrors it, and that includes smaller everyday tasks which don’t necessarily come easily to Max like eating vegetables and brushing his teeth at night.
It’s this development process, which really puts a smile on your face and warms your heart.
Together, Max and Feliks reach new heights, with Feliks going off into adulthood and focusing on a longterm career for himself, and Max learning new skills and how to deal with his emotions.
The Speed Cubers is not just a story of obvious talent, skill and intelligence, but one of hope, courage and inspiration, which is sure to get you thinking about your own choices.
You might not be able to complete a Rubiks Cube in six seconds like Max and Feliks, but if there’s anything to take away from The Speed Cubers, maybe it’s that there’s some things we can all do that we never thought we’d be able to!