• Wendy Shreve


How to create a brand, get invited to demonstrate your skill on the world stage, get millions of subscribers and launch your own product line by the age of twenty-one? Lily Hevesh accomplished these feats using her brain, creativity; laser-focus. From a young age she's had a strong sense of self. Though as with many shy children, she needed a reason to unshackle herself from societal expectations. She needed to follow her life-calling.

Children and adults play with dominoes; but those used in the documentary, Lily Topples the World (2021), have characteristics particular to erecting mesmerizing designs that disappear in the blink of an eye.

Lily has already attracted over one million subscribers to her YouTube site when the movie begins. Her prowess as a domino artist has taught her to comprehend physics, geometry, and engineering, making her an ideal candidate as a student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Rye, New York.

Will Lily's ambition to make her dreams come to fruition interfere with her advanced education? To elaborate would be to spoil the unexpected twists and turns that this story takes. Director Jeremy Workman leads the way; yet, Lily often asserts her needs. The young woman wields a movie camera expertly, knows how to capture the undulating movement of the falling tiles. One gets the impression that this documentary was a team effort.

Her parents also give Lily a wide berth while being there whenever possible. Lily admits that she has been given a second chance and brims with gratitude. As an adoptee from China, abandoned at an orphanage and brought to a center where her health was in jeopardy. Her American parents-to-be didn't hesitate to bring Lily home, even though they had two children of their own. Recognizing that their daughter learned quickly, they encouraged her to experiment with puzzles.

You don't need to be a domino aficionado to appreciate what Lily then achieves. From being invited on The Tonight Show, setting up a shot in Will Smith's Collateral Beauty (2016) or a video for Katy Perry to standing in front of the Parthenon in Greece, this prodigy's travels mesmerize like the intricate patterns toppling in harmonious precision.

As ephemeral as sand art, Lily's creations require Zen-like devotion. Evidently, those who follow her on social media and/or pay for her services comprehend her never-ending talent to keep viewers in suspense. Watch Lily Topples the World to see how she does it.

Available on Discovery+ on Thursday, August 26 and in New York (IFC) on Friday, August 27.

Unrated. For all audiences.

Earlier reviews not seen on this website (before May 20, 2021) are available on or my previous blog site,

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