Akeelah and the Bee - O.U.T.S.T.A.N.D.I.N.G.

Duration: 112min
Category: drama
Available: On DVD
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The thing that has always bothered me about Spelling Bees, besyds the fakt that i ama terible spellor, is that they are all about form over substance. Meaning has no meaning as the only thing that matters is correct construction, and constructed construction at that.

Fortunately, Akeelah and the Bee doesnít have that same problem.

Akeelah and the Bee is the story of young Akeelah, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who advances to the finals of the National Spelling Bee competition through determination and the support of her community. To call this film inspiring is to say the least. Not since Searcing for Bobby Fischer or The Greatest Game Ever Played have boring competitions (chess and golf respectively) been made so intense on screen.

Akeelah and the Bee is a beautifully made film filled with outstanding performances both from seasoned veterans (Lawrence Fishburne and the incredibly beautiful Angela Basset) and the filmís young star Keke Palmer. Palmer has star quality oozing from every pour and she realises Akeelah as strong, proud, and terrified with complete accuracy.

Akeelah and the Bee manages to get the form down pretty good, but itís the substance of this film that makes it stand out. The biggest sin a family film can make is to talk down to its audience and Akeelah and the Bee never stoops so low. It recognises that kids are real people living in the real world and dealing with real problems (racism, poverty, class warfare). Akeelah and the Bee is the kind of film which respects its target and offers them something special, promise.

I still question a spelling beeís ability to teach proper values to youth but I have no question that Akeelah and the Bee is absolutely correct.

Review By: Collin Smith

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