AKEELAH AND THE BEE (2006 USA)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.0|5.0 Starsìììì

Akeelah and the Bee—earnest, genuine, and a pleasure to watch—works its story from a Los Angeles ghetto. This is an above average family film that encourages scholarship and development of natural talent.

Storyline

The story begins with South Los Angeles rap music and memorable set-up scenes from the Los Angeles ghetto. Akeelah Anderson (Keke Palmer), an 11-year-old girl, walks down the sidewalk as a narrator informs the audience of the humble beginnings of the spelling bee at Crenshaw Middle School. The scene moves from the dilapidated middle school into Akeelah’s class room to show a teacher handing graded papers to her students. The grades are not good. The teacher reprimands her students that they need to study harder in spelling, stops at Akeelah’s desk, and asks her if she studied for her spelling examination. Akeelah says, reluctantly, “No,” and the rest of the students start laughing at her. The teacher sets the paper on Akeelah’s table and says that she wants to see Akeelah after class. Akeelah looks at her grade and it’s an “A+.” She silently sighs in relief and the next scene shows Akeelah’s teacher talking to her about how great Akeelah is doing, that there will be a spelling bee next week, and she recommends Akeelah sign up for it.

Additional Thanks

Thank you to Director Doug Atchison for directing efforts. Thank you to Executive Producers Helen Sugland, Michael Burns, Michael Paseornek, Tom Ortenberg, Marc Butan, Mark Cuban, and Todd Wagner for making the film possible. Thank you to Music Composer Aaron Zigman for scoring the film. Additonal actors include: Dr. Larabee (Laurence Fishburne), Mr.Welch (Curtis Armstrong), Javier (J.R. Villarreal), Dylan (Sean Michael Afable), and Tanya (Angela Basset).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. It’s a refreshing look at winning. The film serves as clean entertainment for both the child and adult audience while providing an educational look at spelling bees from a middle school perspective to the national perspective.

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Ben Meyers

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