Spellbound - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Spellbound Reviews

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½ August 17, 2015
A very fun and intense documentary about a great cast of characters in a competition to see who is the best speller!
May 31, 2015
it actually was A great documentary
½ March 26, 2014
Between 3 and 3.5. A very original point of view to all the implications of this contest and what it means to children and families.
December 28, 2013
If there is always one general lesson to be learned from documentaries is that it's most important to be able to pick the right and interesting subjects. Sometimes, these subjects may even lie in the most common of places. Like, did you know that in the US word spelling can be considered a sport and its national final broadcast on national TV? Well, in Spellbound, Blitz follows a group of kids making their way to the 1999 National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. The film is structurally essentially divided into two parts, one shows the journey that the kids undertake to qualify for the final and the other follows the final itself. It does so in a way that is well paced and engaging, also because of the subjects that Blitz, all different but interesting in their own original ways. By using this particular argument, the filmmaker also makes interesting observations on a class of children on American soil and their culture. And this examination too comes across as very interesting but also legitimately fun.
September 24, 2013
Wonderful! But no! My favorite didn't win, anathematized!
½ September 10, 2013
This is hands down the most suspenseful documentary I have ever seen. I may have been over ten years in seeing it, but I would never forgive myself. Wonderful film.
½ August 26, 2013
It was kind of fun to learn the back stories of some of the spellers who made it to the 1999 national spelling bee.
½ August 21, 2013
The last half hour stressed me o-u-t man! It brought back memories of my epic second-place finish in the 4th grade spelling bee.
½ August 13, 2013
Great documentary on spelling bees.
July 15, 2013
Wow - what an amazing movie - it is just crazy what goes on in these spelling events!
June 21, 2013
I don't see how we relate to them... Spelling is not really important anymore in this tech age and with the increase in the use of acronyms. Not a satisfying documentary.
June 8, 2013
Fun fact: My gf won 3 spelling bees in Ontario.
May 1, 2013
A surprisingly fascinating Documentary following 8 children from the US from vastly different education & ethnic back grounds.

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...
April 10, 2013
Spellbound is a detailed look into the lives of national spelling-bee contestants that does an excellent job at cross-examining children from different walks of life and upbringing, as well as the methods used to tune their skills, which makes it an intriguing and interesting watch.
Super Reviewer
½ March 11, 2013
im glad i only won the school spelling bee and not the regionals because i would probably be one of the hopeless nerds on this dvd
January 27, 2013
The most important question about Spellbound is are these kids ever going to use any of these words they are learning to spell in real life? Highly unlikely I think. Extremely unlikely.
December 27, 2012
This movie makes me feel better about "Children are our future"
December 7, 2012
Would like to get round to seeing!
½ November 27, 2012
Interesting, but didn't blow me away for some reason.
November 12, 2012
viewed on 15/8/04 (Sun)

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.

Rating: B+
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