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Dumbstruck 

Directed by Mark Goffman (Mongrel)

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Puppets are creepy---except for The Muppets, which are the exceptions to the rule---especially when they involve a ventriloquist. Dumbstruck is a documentary about people who feel differently, about five would-be puppeteers as they try to make it in a world that doesn’t always understand their art form. Goffman does a good job portraying a range of ventriloquists, from America’s Got Talent 2007 winner Terry Fator, to an elderly puppeteer named Wilma who is on the verge of bankruptcy. But rather than highlight the rise of Fator, the film weighs heavily on the puppeteers as they scrape by. Dumbstruck tries to send a powerful message about following your dreams, but the result is a realization that in the world of ventriloquism, those dreams are nearly impossible to accomplish.
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Vol 26, No 38
February 14, 2019

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