The documentary starts off by showing us slices of daily lives of 8 kids going for the national spelling bee championship. Heard from a colleage who stayed in USA for a while that there is really such an annual affair, which received quite alot of coverage each year.
Yes, goes witout saying, the 8 kids are very nerdy. Some of them confessed they simply love to spell. One of them like to use bombastic words. Are they happy kids? Not quite. Some of them have to bear the teasing of other kids. One has to hide his intelligence because in his state one big sign spelt 'champ' as 'chapm'. There is one kid whose father who came to USA illegally years ago and hardly speaks a word of English. Yet she can spell very big words. There is one Afro-American girl who comes from a working class single-parent family. There are some who have tremendous support and coaching by their parents. There are two Indian kids who see the scholarship, given as the first prize, a window of opportunities which they will hardly get in their native country.
The documentary is shot in the way we may or may not know one of them will be the winner. I do not know whether the director has a sixth sense or what. He interviewed the 8 of them before the championship and there are many many kids in the finals! How will he know one of his subjects will be the winner? Sheer luck or what?
I like the documentary being very engaging and gives some insight to child geniuses and their innocence and unforseen pressure. I will recommend this to adults, especially parents and teachers. We all hope we can have one child like that. Smart, hardworking and yet gracious at accepting failure.
They all are so different & unique and it's utterly amazing the dedication of the children & the complexity of the words they are spelling.
The pressure on the children is unbelievable and in the final moments of this film you truly are transfixed in it, a fascinating unique documentary a must see...