Spellbound - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Spellbound Reviews

July 16, 2003
Spellbound is not a great piece of filmmaking, but it is more entertaining than you might expect from a story whose heroes are all brainiacs.
Read More | Original Score: 3/5
June 27, 2003
Spellbound finds its thrills with nary a chase scene nor a quick cut; it's a simple and utterly gripping story about kids, words and a microphone.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
June 13, 2003
When a child stands at the microphone and frantically writes invisible letters on her hand, we can't help but love each and every one of these people.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
June 13, 2003
A genuinely charming and often funny documentary about the high-pressured world of competitive spelling.
Read More | Original Score: B
June 6, 2003
Whatever else it may be, this is also a film about being young, hopeful and focused.
Read More | Original Score: 4/5
June 6, 2003
An unpretentious classic of the form.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
June 2, 2003
It makes having brains cool.
June 2, 2003
Just might be the most action-packed suspense thriller of the summer.
June 2, 2003
One of the many pleasures in Spellbound is watching the reactions of these young brainiacs.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
May 30, 2003
Spellbound is a gorgeous weave.
May 30, 2003
Entertaining documentary.
May 30, 2003
Jeff Blitz's delightful documentary on the National Spelling Bee and its grammar-school competitors will win your heart.
May 29, 2003
There is something so purely and positively American about Spellbound that it is indeed spellbinding.
Read More | Original Score: A-
May 29, 2003
All of the kids and their stories are remarkably compelling.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
May 29, 2003
I love this movie, and I love the pride, spirit and sportsmanship of the kids who represent the best of American pluck and luck.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
May 29, 2003
This is a great sports movie that doesn't need a field, a court or a ball.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
May 29, 2003
Begins with the unlikely dramatic material of a children's spelling competition and turns it into a gripping and inspirational tale.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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
May 29, 2003
Spellbound's raw material is so innately charming that there wasn't much for Blitz to do besides show up.
Read More | Original Score: B
May 23, 2003
You find yourself not only rooting for the kids to make it from one end of 'heuristic' to the other without incident, but for their parents to make it without keeling over.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
May 23, 2003
Director Jeff Blitz's riveting, inspiring documentary Spellbound resembles a Christopher Guest movie in that it follows obsessed, socially awkward folks on a seminal journey in their lives.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
May 23, 2003
What makes the picture engaging is the extended preamble, where director Jeff Blitz zeroes in on eight contestants and serves up a mini-profile of each.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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
May 19, 2003
... one of the most entertaining and involving documentaries of the last few years.
May 16, 2003
Who would have thought that a nonfiction film about spelling bees, for God's sake, would be more mesmerizing than expensive fictional flicks with oodles and oodles of production values and special effects?
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
May 15, 2003
These determined, sometimes-obsessed kids stick with you, presenting a portrait of America as a melting pot unified in determination and a hefty serving of alphabet soup.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
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.
May 14, 2003
Whether from a Texas ranch, a Missouri trailer park or a Washington, D.C., housing project, these spellers define something unique about the American character.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
May 7, 2003
The documentarian keeps his story rooted in battle and suspense, and we cheer wholeheartedly for every nervous warrior.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
April 30, 2003
The eight stories entwine to form a fascinating portrait of a group of young people and their families, in which the peculiar, anachronistic spelling-bee subculture becomes a window into contemporary American society.
Read More | Original Score: 4.5/5
April 30, 2003
A very slick yet entertaining documentary.
Read More | Original Score: 2/4
April 29, 2003
Each participant has unique appeal.