While some might spell 'predictable' as H-O-L-L-Y-W-O-O-D, this film manages to take that very quality and polish it off enough that the resultant offering feels fresh, engaging and highly entertaining.
What the movie gets exactly right is its knowledge that for some, realizing their first major accomplishment has nothing to do with throwing a touchdown or getting on base. For someone like Akeelah, correctly spelling a difficult world can prove the earl
An 11-year-old word wizard from the inner city longs for a little r-e-s-p-e-c-t, as Aretha Franklin sings in pop music's most famous spelling test. We know she'll get it; what's remarkable is that writer-director Doug Atchison earns our respect as well.