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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
U
Cast
Harry Altman
Angela Arenivar
Ted Brigham
April DeGideo
Neil Kadakia
Nupur Lala
Emily Stagg
Ashley White.
Directors
Jeffrey Blitz.
Screenwriters
Running Time
97 minutes

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Spellbound


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Plot
Eight American high school kids from different parts of the country compete for the 1999 National Spelling Bee — a nail-biting competition whose teen contestants train as rigorously as athletes.


Review
Among the more unique aspects of Americana is the National Spelling Bee - an annual competition in which those who are no doubt picked last for basketball practice demonstrate their alternative talents by spelling words like 'Schadenfreude' and 'haemoglobin' live on television.

This documentary follows eight hopefuls from their home towns across the country to the national finals.

What emerges is a captivating picture of what it's like to be a teenager and 'different' in the USA. From the gawky farm boy whose parents sit on the porch bemused by their son's intelligence, to the daughter of Mexican immigrants whose father speaks no English at all, these kids are isolated by their 'smartness' and find some solace in the realisation that they're not alone.

There is the odd glitch: first-time documentarian Jeffrey Blitz follows too many kids in insufficient depth, and the structure of the film is disappointingly unimaginative. But, otherwise, this is a compelling, sometimes surprisingly emotionally-involving film.


Verdict
A unique, fascinating look at an America we rarely see.


Reviewed by Adam Smith

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Spellbound
Empire Star Rating

RE: Spellbound

It's a really good film to watch; totaly pulls you in and in the end you are totaly rooting for the kids.   It's just scary that people take the Spelling Bees so seriously though; it's a kids competition but so competative. ... More

Posted by SimonPatricOon at 12:07, 01 February 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Spellbound

Wrong undthe article. ... More

Posted by Paxton at 00:02, 01 February 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Spellbound

L: forbidden_planet L: doncopey1 another hitchcock classic in my opinion not his ultimate best but its up there with some of his great work, i strongly recommend this film r...no sp; er no wot you tosser ... More

Posted by doncopey1 at 19:36, 31 January 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Spellbound

L: doncopey1 another hitchcock classic in my opinion not his ultimate best but its up there with some of his great work, i strongly recommend this film r...no ... More

Posted by forbidden_planet at 09:46, 30 January 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Spellbound

another hitchcock classic in my opinion not his ultimate best but its up there with some of his great work, i strongly recommend this film ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by doncopey1 at 20:50, 29 January 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Spellbound

This quirkey little film is a gem. These kids are completly committed and the spelling bee means so much to them and their families. Very interesting and funny at times, would definately recommend this. ... More

Posted by forbidden_planet at 22:00, 27 January 2006 | Report This Post


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