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Akeelah and the Bee (2006)



Average Rating: 7/10
Reviews Counted: 136
Fresh: 114 | Rotten: 22

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.


Average Rating: 6.8/10
Critic Reviews: 33
Fresh: 27 | Rotten: 6

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.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 84,137

My Rating

Movie Info

Akeelah Anderson is a precocious 11-year-old girl from south Los Angeles with a gift for words. Despite the objections of her mother Tanya, Akeelah enters various spelling contests, for which she is tutored by the forthright Dr. Larabee; her principal Mr. Welch and the proud residents of her neighborhood. Akeelah's aptitude earns her an opportunity to compete for a spot in the Scripps National Spelling Bee and in turn unites her neighbors who witness the courage and inspiration of one amazing


Drama, Kids & Family

Doug Atchison

Aug 29, 2006


Lionsgate Releasing - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (138) | Top Critics (33) | Fresh (114) | Rotten (22) | DVD (8)

Its clichés seem bigger and its characterisations broader than they would on the more forgiving telly.

August 17, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

... it's easy to overlook that contrivance, because the movie's heart is so clearly in the right place.

April 28, 2006 Full Review Source: USA Today
USA Today
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The latest spelling bee movie is a Starbucks Entertainment product, and it has a made-to-order feel about it, kind of like a compilation album.

April 28, 2006 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Keke Palmer, who's been working in television and movies for the past few years, is a natural on screen.

April 28, 2006 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's the kind of movie parents will want their kids to see as opposed to much of what's playing at the multiplex.

April 28, 2006 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

... a delight to sit through ...

April 28, 2006 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It isn't just about the competition. It is about heart, dedication, intelligence and the pulling together of a entire community.

November 24, 2010 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Akeelah and the Bee is the kind of movie you want to recommend to every 11-year-old you know.

June 8, 2008 Full Review Source: Paste Magazine
Paste Magazine

The best thing ... is that, unlike the majority of sports films, the film doesn't suggest that spelling has some kind of transcendental importance.

September 18, 2007 Full Review Source: Cinematical

It's hard to believe the best family film so far this year comes from a writer-director whose previous film bears the unfortunate title The Pornographer.

July 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Big Picture Big Sound
Big Picture Big Sound

Fine performances all around and smart pacing that rivets us to the story.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Any parents wondering why they don't make wholesome family flicks anymore can stop wondering.

January 22, 2007 Full Review Source:

This is a film that couldn't be more predictable or more joyful. I just hope I haven't misspelled anything.

December 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Cinema Signals
Cinema Signals

...a sporadically engaging drama.

November 22, 2006 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

If there's ever any evidence that originality and predictability aren't necessarily absolute elements by which to judge a movie, Akeelah and the Bee is it.

September 21, 2006 Full Review Source: Window to the Movies
Window to the Movies

It's every bit as clichéd and predictable as you'd expect, but thanks to some fine performances, especially from the young leads, it is quite watchable.

September 8, 2006 Full Review Source: Christianity Today
Christianity Today

While there's a temptation to dismiss Akeelah and the Bee as Good Will Spelling, there aren't enough (good) heartwarming films like this for either younger or older audiences.

August 31, 2006 Full Review Source: RTE Interactive (Dublin, Ireland)

It's hard not to fall in love with the film

August 26, 2006 Full Review Source: FilmFocus

Give it an m, i, s, s.

August 19, 2006 Full Review Source: Guardian

The film has an important, uplifting message; shame it couldn't be encased in a less faked-up story.

August 19, 2006 Full Review Source: Independent

The young star is such a little cutey-pie and the plot so cleverly manipulative that, whatever its faults, you'll still have a lump in your throat throughout.

August 18, 2006 Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK]
Daily Mirror [UK]

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.

August 18, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

This isn't a patch on Spellbound ... but its strong performances and its skilful deployment of the finest, hand-picked cliches ensures that it remains enjoyable throughout.

August 17, 2006 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

As much a fantasy as Lord of the Rings.

August 15, 2006 Full Review Source: | Comment (1)

However eager to entertain and even to model some ways of living life, the film doesn't wheedle us for our love or our devotion, and perhaps for that reason, it earns both.

July 28, 2006 Full Review Source: Nick's Flick Picks
Nick's Flick Picks

Audience Reviews for Akeelah and the Bee

31/07/2010 (TELEVISION)

This is something different in topic but still uses a plot and story-structure that is very familiar, but otherwise it's still a worthy film to see.

Another "Rags to Riches" theme but with a very interesting topic which had my eyes glued because my interest was very stimulated,

"Akeelah and the Bee" is a great movie that squeezed hope out of me and made my experience a real journey. A decent choice for all.
July 26, 2012

Super Reviewer

Almost every spelling bee movie ever made is cheesy and totally predictable. Akeelah and the Bee, though, is a very clever, well crafted, beautiful movie. It's young but talented cast are admirable, and will have you cheering them on all the way.
February 3, 2011
Jason Lalljee
Jason Lalljee

Super Reviewer

This film was an eye opener to what its like for someone who wants to be in a spelling bee.
June 3, 2010
erika bruhns

Super Reviewer

It follows a formulaic plot structure, but I really liked how it explored the cultural and social divisions amongst classes in Los Angeles.
March 19, 2009

Super Reviewer

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

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