MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 6,476 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 10,433 users   Metascore: 80/100
Reviews: 103 user | 101 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

Editors' Spotlight

Alpha House Premieres Today

All ten episodes of the second season of "Alpha House" are available now. Watch them now, only on Prime Instant Video.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 48 titles
created 18 Apr 2011
 
a list of 48 titles
created 24 Apr 2013
 
a list of 32 titles
created 8 months ago
 
a list of 25 titles
created 6 months ago
 
a list of 45 titles
created 3 months ago
 

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 (2011)
Comedy | Horror | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 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
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
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
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
Lucky I (2010)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A documentary about the American lottery and some of the industry's biggest winners (and losers).

Director: Jeffrey Blitz
Stars: Steve Ledoux
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
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
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
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Documentary about an aspiring filmmaker's attempts to finance his dream project by finally completing the low-budget horror film he abandoned years before.

Director: Chris Smith
Stars: Mark Borchardt, Mike Schank, Tom Schimmels
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
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A documentary about the Enron corporation, its faulty and corrupt business practices, and how they led to its fall.

Director: Alex Gibney
Stars: John Beard, Tim Belden, Barbara Boxer
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:

Little kids. Big words. American dreams. 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

Former Spelling Bee winner: I don't think it really helped me, in my love live; my nascent love life. I think that having won something like that could be regarded as being a significant liability.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Special thanks to The Blitz Family, The Arenivar Family, The Brigham Family, The DeGideo Family, The Kadakia Family, The Lala Family, The Lieberman Family, The Natarajian Family, The Pagels Family, The Stagg Family, The Stoecker Family, The Thampy Family, The White Family, Linda Loeffler & Family and all the participants of The National Spelling Bee. See more »

Connections

Featured in The 2003 IFP Independent Spirit Awards (2003) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A surprisingly suspenseful and compelling documentary
21 July 2004 | by (Milwaukee, WI) – See all my reviews

When one says that they are excited to see a documentary on the 8th graders' National Spelling Bee, that person is met with a look and an `Oooookaaaay….' I was on the receiving end of these looks for the last two years when I wanted to see `Spellbound', Jeffrey Blitz's 2002 documentary about the `spelling elite'. I finally got my wish recently and was thrilled that it met (and exceeded) my high expectations for the film.

For `Spellbound', Blitz traveled around the United States and chose eight competitors, aged 11-14, to profile before the eventual climax of the actual spelling bee. We see the home lives of the eight students, who range from poverty to upper middle class affluence, single parent families, and two-parent homes. There are even Archie and Edith Bunker reincarnated as the parents of one girl, and another girl whose parents, though having lived in the United States for over twenty years, don't speak English. Though these students come from fairly different backgrounds, they seem to be treated slightly different because of their intelligence, and therefore descend upon Washington D.C. for the Spelling Bee with a commonality.

`Spellbound' is Jeffrey Blitz's first film and he already exhibits a masterful eye for the documentary genre. Though the profiles are fairly routine, the second half of the film, the Spelling Bee itself, is so compelling that I felt the same effect as your average suspense film. The viewer is naturally led to pick a `favorite', though not guided to any specific child. My `favorite' was knocked out fairly early and I truly felt something. There is nothing fancy about the camera work, there are no stark white backgrounds or a Phillip Glass score, or a reactionary topic. What I felt while watching this film was that I was sitting among the audience and letting the camera be my guide – one of the most important elements of a good documentary film.

Whether you think the subject matter isn't worthy of an hour and a half treatment, or didn't notice it in the year of `Bowling for Columbine' (which beat `Spellbound' to win the Best Documentary Oscar for 2003) I would recommend picking up this film. It's heart breaking at times, but mostly, inspirational because some of these kids have more maturity in one arm than a lot of adults I know, and their grace under pressure is both awe-inspiring and something to aspire to.

--Shelly


15 of 15 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