Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Kevin Feige:
My Movie Life

The Marvel supremo's pick of the flicks
Want To Be An Empire Journalist?
Find out how here
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
Click poster to enlarge
More posters to select

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Keke Palmer
Laurence Fishburne
Angela Bassett
Curtis Armstrong.
Directors
Doug Atchison.
Screenwriters
Doug Atchison.
Running Time
113 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Luna
2 Star Empire Rating
Great Train Robbery: A Tale Of Two Thieves, The
4 Star Empire Rating
Still The Enemy Within
4 Star Empire Rating
Knife That Killed Me, The
3 Star Empire Rating
Tony Benn: Will And Testament
5 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Tony Benn: Will And Testament
5 Star Empire Rating
Nightcrawler
5 Star Empire Rating
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating

Akeelah And The Bee
Predictable but sweet kids movie about spelling.


submit to reddit


Plot
Eleven year-old African-American Akeelah (Palmer) thinks spelling is uncool until she starts to win spelling bee competitions. A grieving professor, Dr. Larabee (Fishburne), helps train her for the national finals, but conflicts with her overworked mother threaten to interfere


Review
Akeelah And The Bee

The first product on the Starbucks Entertainment production line, this confection is as sugary, formulaic and all-American as you’d expect. And while US critics have gobbled it up with gusto, British audiences may find it harder to swallow — at least at first.
 
Young Akeelah’s character is drawn with broad strokes, her needs spelt out as painstakingly as the words that get her off the streets and into schooling. Many scenes, such as her sessions with the bereaved Dr. Larabee (a sleepwalking Fishburne), appear functional rather than inspirational: the film only inspires when Akeelah takes to the stage for the spelling bees.
 
There, the suspense is palpable despite the certainty of the outcome, and the kind of affectionate, geeky-kid humour that characterised the superior Spellbound edges into the picture. There’s sweetness in Akeelah’s friendship with fellow speller Javier, and credibility in the character of Chinese-American Dylan, whose strict father coaches him privately. Considering the multi-racial nature of the contests, though, the film plays the race card a little too heavily. “You goin’ up against a bunch of rich white kids — they gonna tear yo’ black ass up,” states Akeelah’s brother. Somewhat inaccurate on both counts.


Verdict
There’s charm in this simple underdog tale, but clunky plotting and characterisation mean it has ‘telemovie’ written all over it. You’d be better off renting Spellbound instead.


Reviewed by Anna Smith

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Akeelah And The Bee
Empire Star Rating

Akeelah and the Bee Review

Although predictable in every way, a winning performance from its young star Keke Palmer and the rest of the cast makes it difficult not to cheer for the little heroine of Akeelah and the Bee. Sort of like Rocky for the middle school nerd set, Akeelah is a warm, family-friendly underdog story, featuring terrific supporting performances from Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 08:58, 10 May 2012 | Report This Post


Akeelah and the Bee Review

Although predictable in every way, a winning performance from its young star Keke Palmer and the rest of the cast makes it difficult not to cheer for the little heroine of Akeelah and the Bee. Sort of like Rocky for the middle school nerd set, Akeelah is a warm, family-friendly underdog story, featuring terrific supporting performances from Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 08:58, 10 May 2012 | Report This Post


Akeelah

Cute, smart, family entertainment. Solid message and solid performances. Keke Palmer is very good. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lynnshep at 04:46, 22 July 2008 | Report This Post


SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Bond Girls Who Made It Big
The actresses who overcame the curse of 007 to forge successful careers

The Future Of Film: A Woman Will Direct Star Wars
No longer a men’s club, Hollywood is going to start opening its doors...

The Empire Podcast #130: Interviews With Rosamund Pike, Lee Child And Antoine Fuqua
The Gone Girl star, Jack Reacher author and The Equalizer director pop in for a chat

The Future Of Film: Movie Posters Will Talk To You (And Buy Your Tickets)
Movie posters will be bigger, better... and talk to you?

The 50 Greatest Voice Performances In Movies
Who has the most talented tonsils in town?

25 Movie Songs Bigger Than The Movie
The film tunes that transcend their origins...

Denzel Washington: A Viewer’s Guide
The highs and lows of The Equalizer star’s career to date

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)