Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
100 Greatest Characters
Your all-time favourite heroes and villains
Subscribe To Empire
Sign up now and save up to 63%
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

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Gift, The
4 Star Empire Rating
Vacation
2 Star Empire Rating
Strange Magic
2 Star Empire Rating
Looking For Love
3 Star Empire Rating
Pressure
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Man With A Movie Camera
5 Star Empire Rating
Salt Of The Earth, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Song Of The Sea
5 Star Empire Rating
Look Of Silence, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Mad Max: Fury Road
5 Star Empire Rating

Spellbound


submit to reddit


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

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

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



CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Empire Meets The Cast Of The Gift
On acting scared, Words With Friends battles and Lego Bateman

Black Mass Trailer Breakdown With Director Scott Cooper
Find out what's what with Johnny Depp's take on Boston Gangster Whitey Bulger

The N.W.A-Team
Empire visits the set of Straight Outta Compton

Empire Meets Joely Richardson
On Maggie, Arnie and Event Horizon

100 Greatest Movie Characters
The complete list of your all-time favourite heroes and villains

Vote Now For Your Favourite TV Shows
Pick your top five - if you can...

Paul Rudd Is Awesome
Being awesome: from Clueless to Ant-Man

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe now and save up to 63%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  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)