While this film is about a young boy named Mike, or the title character of Mical, the truth is that Mical is much more about Jayne Lunn's Pat Jones, the somewhat exasperated mother of the aforementioned Mical who has grown weary of having to defend her son to educators and playground bullies alike.
The Mical in question, played by William Biletsky, is still the heart n' soul of Yewweng Ho's award-winning 20-minute short film. In the eyes of both professionals and peers, Mical is defective, a stupid young boy with behavioral issues who is deemed as not trying hard enough in his reading while his mother is blamed as not reading to him enough.
Of course, by now you likely know the truth that neither is true and, in fact, a good amount of the "blame" goes to a British educational system that stigmatizes and bullies who look for anyone or anything different as a reason to bully.
The truth is that Mical has dyslexia, an unwelcome diagnosis in the U.K.'s 1980's educational system that not only was ill-equipped to handle the diagnosis but didn't have much desire to become equipped.
Mical is ultimately about Pat's taking Mical's education into her own hands when the school repeatedly fails him. Absorbing everything she can find on dyslexia, she becomes first an expert for Mical and eventually one of the U.K.'s most knowledgeable people on educating individuals with dyslexia utilizing what would become known as the Nessy Method (No, not the monster!). It's a method that continues to be utilized in the U.K. today and it's a method that made a huge different in her son's life.
After a successful festival run that included prizes at California's Awareness Film Festival and the Queen Palm International Film Festival, Mical has been released to streaming outlets and is a film you can watch on Amazon Prime - it's free for members and you can simply click on the link in the credits.
Lunn and Biletsky are at the core of Mical and they perform quite beautifully together. Lunn appears to be an occasional actress with three IMDB credits to her name and all three being several years apart. Here's hoping we get to see a bit more of her.
Biletsky is a relative newcomer as well, his work here only his second short film yet one showing tremendous promise. Dale Grant and Craig McGrath also turn in nice work in supporting roles.
There's little denying that Mical is for the most part a feel-good short, its initial discomfort as we experience Mical's suffering giving way to the obvious hope that derives from his mother's relentless determination to find answers and a better life for her son. While Mical turns a bit histrionic at times, it's a well-meaning film with engaging performances and a story that deserves to be told.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic