| Original Score: B
| Original Score: A-
It isn't just about the competition. It is about heart, dedication, intelligence and the pulling together of a entire community.
| Original Score: A
Akeelah and the Bee is the kind of movie you want to recommend to every 11-year-old you know.
| Original Score: 4/5
The best thing ... is that, unlike the majority of sports films, the film doesn't suggest that spelling has some kind of transcendental importance.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
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.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Fine performances all around and smart pacing that rivets us to the story.
Any parents wondering why they don't make wholesome family flicks anymore can stop wondering.
| Original Score: 4/4
This is a film that couldn't be more predictable or more joyful. I just hope I haven't misspelled anything.
...a sporadically engaging drama.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
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.
| Original Score: 8/10
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.
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.
| Original Score: 3/5
It's hard not to fall in love with the film
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.
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.
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.
| Original Score: B
A film like this has to be seen. It's beautiful, it's encouraging, and it really inspires its audience to commit to something positive. Films such as this can not be merely forgotten.
One could quibble about the need for another spelling bee film, but at least this one has some fine performances and a worthwhile message to recommend it.
Director Atchison succinctly separates the film's emotional core from a surfeit of cornball classism.
| Original Score: 3/4