Spelling Bee Movies

I’ve seen a triplet of spelling bee movies lately. Here’s what I think of them.
Akeelah and the Bee        4 LH blue.jpg                                 
Parents, PLEASE take your late elementary and early middle schoolers to this moive! As a matter of fact, it’s a wonderful family movie. The story is of a young inner city girl with a gift for spelling. She has to shake off the criticism of her peers and her own self-doubts to accept the guidance she needs to succeed, but succeed she does. Thre are no surprises, but there’s great joy.
Akeelah and the Bee has not done particularly well at the box office. This distresses me. Violence and extreme action do very well. This engaging story can give kids something to root for that involves their minds and hearts, not just their fists.
Spellbound                 3 LH blue.jpg                           
I watched this as a documentary on DVD. John did not want to watch it, but after the first ten minutes, he was hooked. The documentary follows several young teens from very diverse backgrounds as they study their way to the National Spelling Bee. The studying, as you can see in Akeelah and the Bee, goes way beyond simple spelling to the roots of words and their meanings. It will make you wish you took latin in high school. I defy you not to be on the edge of your seat as they spell!
Bee Season               1 LH blue.jpg movie                       3 LH blue.jpghalf LH blue.jpg    book
This is both a book, by Myla Goldberg and a movie starring Richard Gere. I listened to the book on audio, which is always different from reading it. I wrote about it on my former blog. Listening to the story, which was read by the author, was a gripping, fascinating experience as a father tries to shape his young daughter, through the gift of her spelling, into the Jewish mystic he was never able to be himself. The ending had psychological integrity, if not the joy of the far simpler Akeelah. 
The movie on the other hand . . . Wow, did I dislike it. Slow pace, dense–I could only understand much of what was going on because I’d read the book. I wanted so much to like it, but to me anyway, it’s an example of how difficult it can be to make a good movie from a very complex book.


  1. David Oddie on July 21, 2006 at 11:13 am

    Nice! Where you get this guestbook? I want the same script.. Awesome content. thankyou.

  2. diane on July 21, 2006 at 11:20 am

    Hi David,
    The blog is provided by WritePress, but my webmaster set it up for me, so I don’t know much more than that. I’m glad you like it. I am curious to know where my sudden influx of male blog readers is coming from??

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