MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 12,501 this week

Spellbound (2002)

7.7
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.7/10 from 10,497 users   Metascore: 80/100
Reviews: 104 user | 102 critic | 34 from Metacritic.com

Spellbound follows eight teenagers on their quest to win the 1999 National Spelling Bee.

Director:

Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

On Disc

at Amazon

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 29 titles
created 15 Nov 2010
 
a list of 28 titles
created 06 Feb 2011
 
a list of 36 titles
created 03 Aug 2011
 
a list of 33 titles
created 30 Nov 2011
 
a list of 26 titles
created 14 Jan 2013
 

Related Items

Search for "Spellbound" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Spellbound (2002)

Spellbound (2002) on IMDb 7.7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Spellbound.
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 19 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Spellbound (1945)
Film-Noir | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A psychiatrist protects the identity of an amnesia patient accused of murder while attempting to recover his memory.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Michael Chekhov
Spellbound (2011)
Comedy | Horror | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A magician meets a weird girl and offers her to work together in his magic show. It's only until a year later that he starts to know her personally and develops a feeling towards her despite her own problems.

Director: In-ho Hwang
Stars: Ye-jin Son, Min-ki Lee, Seong-hoon Sin
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Documentary on the Friedmans, a seemingly typical, upper-middleclass Jewish family whose world is instantly transformed when the father and his youngest son are arrested and charged with shocking and horrible crimes.

Director: Andrew Jarecki
Stars: Arnold Friedman, Jesse Friedman, David Friedman
Murderball (2005)
Documentary | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Quadriplegics, who play full-contact rugby in wheelchairs, overcome unimaginable obstacles to compete in the Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece.

Directors: Henry Alex Rubin, Dana Adam Shapiro
Stars: Joe Soares, Keith Cavill, Mark Zupan
Wordplay (2006)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An in-depth look at The New York Times' long-time crossword puzzle editor Will Shortz and his loyal fan base.

Director: Patrick Creadon
Stars: Will Shortz, Ken Burns, Jon Stewart
Documentary | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A year in the life of a city grappling with urban violence.

Director: Steve James
Stars: Tio Hardiman, Ameena Matthews, Toya Batey
Documentary | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A film about the former US Secretary of Defense and the various difficult lessons he learned about the nature and conduct of modern war.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Robert McNamara, John F. Kennedy, Fidel Castro
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A cinematic portrait of the life and career of the infamous American execution device designer and holocaust denier.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Fred A. Leuchter Jr., Robert Jan Van Pelt, David Irving
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Documentary on the migratory patterns of birds, shot over the course of three years on all seven continents.

Directors: Jacques Perrin, Jacques Cluzaud, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Jacques Perrin, Philippe Labro
Dark Days (2000)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A cinematic portrait of the homeless population who live permanently in the underground tunnels of New York City.

Director: Marc Singer
Stars: Marc Singer
Crime | Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Oscar-winning documentary that documents a murder trial in which a 15-year-old African-American is wrongfully accused of a 2000 murder in Jacksonville, Florida.

Director: Jean-Xavier de Lestrade
Stars: Ann Finnell, Patrick McGuinness, James Williams
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Two documentary filmmakers chronicle their time in Sonagchi, Calcutta and the relationships they developed with children of prostitutes who work the city's notorious red light district.

Directors: Zana Briski, Ross Kauffman
Stars: Kochi, Avijit Halder, Shanti Das
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Angela Arenivar ...
Herself - Spelling Bee Participant
Ubaldo Arenivar ...
Himself - Angela's Father (as Ubaldo)
Jorge Arenivar ...
Himself - Angela's Brother (as Jorge)
Scott McGarraugh ...
Himself - Ranch Owner (as Mr. McGarraugh)
Lindy McGarraugh ...
Herself - Ranch Owner (as Mrs. McGarraugh)
Concepción Arenivar ...
Herself - Angela's Mother (as Concepción)
Mrs. Slaughter ...
Herself - Angela's Teacher
Neelima Marupudi ...
Herself - Potter County Champion (as Neelima)
Nupur Lala ...
Herself - Spelling Bee Participant
Ms. Whitehurst ...
Herself - Nupur's Teacher
Parag Lala ...
Himself - Nupur's Father (as Parag)
Meena Lala ...
Herself - Nupur's Mother (as Meena)
Kuna Lala ...
Himself - Nupur's Brother (as Kuna)
Ted Brigham ...
Himself - Spelling Bee Participant
Ms. Blair ...
Herself - Tes's Teacher
Edit

Storyline

This documentary follows 8 teens and pre-teens as they work their way toward the finals of the Scripps Howard national spelling bee championship in Washington D.C. All work quite hard and practice daily, first having to win their regional championship before they can move on. Interviews include the parents and teachers who are working with them. The competitors not only work hard to get to the finals but face tremendous pressure as the original group of over 250 competitors is whittled down and the words they must spell get ever more difficult. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

EVERYONE WANTS THE LAST WORD See more »

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

10 October 2003 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Agonisma orthografias  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£57,735 (UK) (10 October 2003)

Gross:

$5,728,431 (USA) (5 December 2003)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Goofs

While interviewing Harry in his room the boom mic is deliberately shown after Harry asks "Is that thing edible?" See more »

Quotes

Herself - Spelling Bee Participant: In summer I kind of worked around 8 to 9 hours a day, but as school began I just worked about 5 to 6 hours a day.
See more »

Crazy Credits

There is no cast list; a cast member is considered credited if a subtitle or an item in the film prints the name (or partial name). See more »

Connections

Referenced in The 50 Greatest Documentaries (2005) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Fact More Compelling than Fiction
13 March 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

If you need proof that fact is indeed more compelling than fiction, look no further than `Spellbound,' a fascinating and aptly named documentary centered on that great American competition for brainiacs known as the National Spelling Bee.

In designing his film, director Jeffrey Blitz has chosen to focus on eight competitors from widely varying racial, geographical and socioeconomic backgrounds, interviewing them and their families before, during and after the competition. In the first half of the film he introduces us to each of the contestants, giving us behind-the-scenes glimpses into their home lives, their study techniques, their aspirations and their attitudes towards competition and the value of dedication and hard work. The common denominators these eight individuals all share are intelligence, drive, determination and a supportive family structure. Even though the pressure of the experience seems almost too much for any youngster to bear, all of these participants come across as levelheaded, sensible individuals who manage to keep it all in a healthy perspective. The parents, too, seem reasonable in their expectations, encouraging their children without placing undue pressure on them – and beaming with justifiable pride at their amazing progeny. Yet, for all their seeming `nerdness' and gift for articulation, Blitz makes it clear that these kids are really just kids (albeit highly gifted ones) after all.

In the second half of the film, we move to the competition itself, watching as all except one of the people we have come to know over the course of the film eventually become eliminated (Blitz had the grand good fortune of choosing the eventual winner as one of his subjects). The scenes at the competition itself provide more edge-of-the-seat suspense than a truckload of fictional Hollywood thrillers. You'll find your mind and heart racing as each child endeavors to spell out the arcane, tongue-tying words chosen by the officials for the competition. Throughout the proceedings, the audience is on as much of an emotional roller coaster as the participants and their families. As a filmmaker, Blitz knows that the human face is really a map revealing what is taking place inside our hearts and minds and this he captures with uncanny precision as the children sweat, tear up, furrow their brows and even in some cases act out their thought processes in humorously absurd muggery while formulating their answers.

`Spellbound' succeeds in its twofold purpose: to honor that commitment to competition that has defined what it means to be an American and to demonstrate that achieving in a competitive field using one's mind can be just as exciting and rewarding as achieving one's greatness on a court, field or gridiron. That's a message all too rarely conveyed by American culture.

Watching this film, you will indeed be spellbound.


24 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Harry's parents creme_brulee
The black girl from DC hsehunt03
Where are they now? krista-plaisted
amazing mochabird
How Did They Know Who To Follow? Jeope!
Please donate to the Harry Altman Hyperactivity Foundation AlecEiffel
Discuss Spellbound (2002) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page