Spellbound Reviews

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Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
May 29, 2003
It's a commendable attempt to bring an overlooked and fascinating subject to the screen, but the approach is surface oriented and perfunctory, and I didn't really find myself moved, edified, or enlightened by the experience.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Chuck Rudolph
Slant Magazine
April 2, 2003
Blitz is not a filmmaker interested in his subjects, but only in manipulating their experiences for entertainment value.
Brian Mckay
eFilmCritic.com
June 1, 2004
One of the words that came up in the competition was hellebore - which was ironic, because it was exactly at that point that I realized I was hella bored with this film
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Steven Snyder
Zertinet Movies
June 21, 2003
At one point, I sat back in my chair, and celebrated the fact that I knew the film was only half over.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Philip Martin
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
January 29, 2005
...an effervescently charming film
Full Review | Original Score: A
Stephen Himes
Film Snobs
July 24, 2003
When the spellers arrive for the National Bee, Blitz imagines the lobby waterfall of the DC Hyatt as the New Eden of the American Dream.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
May 16, 2003
We cheer for all of these kids, because it is so easy to remember the pain of getting something wrong in front of the whole class.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
May 14, 2003
Blitz's affectionate visual wit and instinctive dramatic flair as he carries us through the finals make this a delightful account of American class ambition, albeit with a dark undertow.
Nell Minow
Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies
May 27, 2003
It is one of the most genuinely thrilling, touching, and purely enjoyable movies of the year.
| Original Score: A
Nell Minow
Common Sense Media
December 28, 2010
Families should see this m-a-r-v-e-l-o-u-s film.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Phil Villarreal
Arizona Daily Star
June 26, 2003
We watch the film as though it's one of those tear-inducing Olympics featurettes about the Argentine swimmer who promised his dying mother he'd bring home the gold.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
David Foucher
EDGE Boston
October 7, 2003
It might be spellbinding, but the theming of this indie documentary is mismanaged and it lacks a voice for its subject matter.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Scott Weinberg
eFilmCritic.com
April 8, 2003
The finest documentary ever made on the fine art of speling.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
May 19, 2003
... one of the most entertaining and involving documentaries of the last few years.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul)
St. Paul Pioneer Press
May 29, 2003
It is hard to imagine a more suspenseful, engaging or emotionally satisfying movie.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Anton Bitel
Movie Gazette
October 28, 2003
Full Review | Original Score: 7/10
Nick Schager
Filmcritic.com
April 16, 2003
Despite its somewhat skin-deep look at these talented youngsters, Spellbound's charm and allure is undeniable.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Eric D. Snider
EricDSnider.com
May 31, 2003
I almost hate to tell you it's a documentary, because I'm afraid you won't believe me that it's the most entertaining, suspenseful film I've seen all year.
Full Review | Original Score: A
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
May 22, 2003
Who would have thought that following eight kids as they prepare for and compete in a national spelling bee could be so riveting?
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Jeffrey M. Anderson
Combustible Celluloid
May 23, 2003
A nailbiter in the finest tradition.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Derek Adams
Time Out
June 24, 2006
Top Critic
Ronnie Scheib
Variety
April 1, 2009
Adrian MacKinder
Future Movies UK
November 6, 2003
Wilson Morales
BlackFilm.com
May 13, 2003

Baltimore Sun
June 20, 2003

Boston Phoenix
July 2, 2003
Top Critic

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
July 3, 2003

Guardian
January 15, 2004

Film4
January 22, 2008
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