Spellbound (Bilingual) [Import]
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Top Customer Reviews
The kids profiled in this movie are fantastic. I found myself rooting for all of them, even the one or two who I didn't really like. I wanted to take little Harry home with me -- his facial expressions and his extended rambling about whether or not he could be considered "talkative" are just hysterical.
The parents are interesting as well. All of them are supportive of their children and have different ways of showing it. Neil's parents (especially his father) are a little intense, and it's easy to see them in a negative light, but when Neil is knocked out of the national competition, their reaction is to be supportive of their son. Nothing wrong with that. April's mother is nutsy, with huge red-framed eyeglasses. She's constantly giggling, "Beeeeee Happy! B-E-E!" April comments that her mother reminds her of Edith Bunker, "because she's kinda dumb."
The competiton is nail-bitingly suspenseful. I found myself whispering the spellings of the words as the kids struggled, hoping they would somehow hear me. A couple of the kids have heartbreaking moments where you can see the anguish on their faces as they struggle to make sense of a word. One girl nearly starts crying; it was all I could do not to cry too!
My one criticism of the movie lies in how they handled the winner of the national bee. First they tell you who won, and only a few minutes later do they show you the winner spelling the winning word.Read more ›
In the beginning, the viewer is given brief but informative backgrounds on each of the film's eight subjects. The one thing that begins to come across almost immediately is how much these kids care about competing and succeeding and the fact that the parents of each care almost as much (or perhaps even more in some cases) as the kids themselves. Most of the parents spend their free time helping the kids practice spelling words.
We're told early on that nine million kids participate in spelling bees every year and that only 249 will make it to Washington, DC. The fact that these 8 (and the other 241 who are not a focus of the film) have already won numerous local and regional spelling bees within their own states is an accomplishment itself. That one will end up being the best speller out of nine million (and beat the best of the best), is simply amazing.
As the film focuses more and more on the national competition, I found myself becoming nervous right along with the kids and parents, hoping that I wouldn't hear that little bell at the end of a misspelled word which tells the participant that they may now exit stage right as it is all over with. I wanted all eight to win but the one I found myself rooting for the most was Neil Kadakia, a 12 year old Indian boy from San Clemente, California. His dedication, as well as that of his parents (particularly his father, who makes some encouraging and appreciative comments about the USA) was incredible.Read more ›
As for the kids, while all bookish, they range from the sullen & withdrawn that you would imagine to outgoing and silly. You do get the idea that, for all the variations, being this good at anything implies a similarity: you are really, really good at things that the vast majority of people aren't...making you an immediate outsider among your peers who would rather discuss J Lo's latest marriage than the language origin of words.
They all have a story so genuine, you'll be sorry that anyone has to lose. An actual, true documentary, by the way, in a time that political op-ed pieces are falsely handed awards in this category.
Most recent customer reviews
Spellbound tell the story of 8 of 249 kids at the National Spelling Bee. It's an interesting documentary, even though it's a little slow during the D.C. spell-off. Read morePublished on July 16 2004 by chicoer2003
I rented this one thinking it was the Hitchcock film with Gregory Peck. I was surprised and not delighted that this 2002 Spellbound was actually a documentary about school kids and... Read morePublished on June 28 2004 by R. A Rubin
Don't be fooled by the title or subject matter--thinking that it will be dry and boring. This is a wonderful docudrama based on the National Spelling Bee, and the drama behind the... Read morePublished on June 22 2004 by Dr Gray
This is not a niche film for academic geeks (although they like it), but an intense documentary for all who wish to look outside the box of what is considered "normal. Read morePublished on June 2 2004 by P. Hartung
Spellbound is an engaging documentary about eight kids who are hopefuls in the national spelling bee, 1999. Read morePublished on May 12 2004 by A. Ryan
This movie is fun and intelligent, as my description says. It has lots of hidden "simpsons like" humor, and it makes you think a little :-). Read morePublished on May 12 2004
This is the most unintentionally funny, stereotype proving movie I've ever seen. From the plantation owners talking about how "not all the Mexicans is lazy- there's some good... Read morePublished on May 10 2004 by Sarah Stephens
In keeping with what other reviewers echoed, Spellbound really is a suspenseful and fascinating documentary following the progress of eight youngsters who have won regional... Read morePublished on April 18 2004 by EriKa
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