Yet another word puzzle gets its spotlight. This one is the New York Times crossword puzzle. Wordplay follows two great films on spelling bees (Spellbound) and Scrabble (Word Wars). Like the previous two, Wordplay follows fanatical contestants as they battle each other in various matches to win the championship game. The drama in Spellbound is the question of which little kid will go the furthest in the superhuman attempt to memorize the dictionary. The juice in the Scrabble documentary is the weirdness of adult professional Scrabble players; their lives are odd as they try to earn their living playing fast Scrabble games. The joy of Wordplay erupts from the delight of words, the mystery of puzzles, and the cheery intelligence of the game players. For me (a non-user) the behind-the-scenes look at how cross-world puzzles are constructed, and how they are solved by the best players is worth the trip. This film is surprisingly fast-paced, and entertaining. It takes a small corner of life and expands it with unexpected details, funny lines, and sure editing until it seems like the most fulfilling thing in the universe. You see crossword puzzles differently, but also life. Maybe because crossword players are so smart and fun, this film is. See it.
2006, 85 min.
$3, Amazon Instant Video rental
Read more about the film at Wikipedia
Rent from Netflix
Available from Amazon