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Akeelah and the Bee

  • Drama
  • 2006
  • Doug Atchison
  • 108 mins
  • PG

Summary

A clever girl from a poor neighbourhood finds school frustrating and tries to hide her intelligence from her classmates. When she competes in a spelling competition, she is surprised to win and with the aid of a strict coach, sets out to take part in a national tournament and provide her community with something to rally round. Drama, starring Keke Palmer, Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett. Edited for daytime broadcast.

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Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Spelling is the magic key to community cohesion in this simplistic but sincere wish-fulfilment drama. Playing like a fictional take on the 2002 documentary Spellbound, it uses the story of a precocious African-American girl's gift for words as a focal point to explore the current US preoccupation with junior spelling contests. Keke Palmer is wonderful as the talented 11-year-old Akeelah, who gradually finds the self-belief to ignore her mocking south Los Angeles classmates and sceptical mother (Angela Bassett) and enter a televised national spelling bee. Crucial to Akeelah's inspirational journey is Laurence Fishburne as her reluctant coach, whose dignified performance helps bolster the film's commendable intellectual and emotional messages. Although the plot is predictable, with the outcome blatantly obvious, it's hard not to get drawn into events, particularly when the tense competition unfolds. Only the final sequences descend into naive fantasy, as even gang members stop their shady activities to root for their local spelling star.

How to watch

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Credits

Cast

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Dr LarabeeLaurence Fishburne
Tanya AndersonAngela Bassett
Akeelah AndersonKeke Palmer
Mr WelchCurtis Armstrong
Mr ChiuMa Tzi
DevonLee Thompson Young
JavierJ R Villarreal
DylanSean Michael Afable
GeorgiaSahara Garey
KianaErica Hubbard

Crew

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DirectorDoug Atchison

Details

Theatrical distributor
Lions Gate
Released on
2006-08-18
Language
English
Guidance
Swearing.
Available on
DVD
Formats
Colour
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