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This is an Amazon Studios test movie, a rough draft of a film. Lottie loves magic but when her best friend and 11 fellow royals are kidnapped by a vengeful sorcerous, it's up to Lottie, a ... See full summary »
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
Spellbound is a surprisingly moving film, because it is not really about spelling, but about hopes and dreams. There's a lot of love in the film, and it's interesting how different families have different approaches... all the way from hands-off parents to parents hiring drill coaches. The film does a good job of showing the backgrounds of the kids and presenting their personalities. I found myself trying to spell right along with them (unsuccessfully).
Spelling bees promote the worst kind of rote learning, especially when the kids are faced with words they will never use in real life. That's thousands of hours either totally wasted or to be less critical, hours that could have been put to better use, for example, learning creative writing or public speaking. Even so, as one parent says, this is practice to form a habit of perseverance for the future.
The pacing and music were perfect, the way the challenge was presented was clear and straightforward. Excellent film.
Who should see this film:
-- Kids of all ages
-- Everyone else. It's not at all boring.
I'll give Spellbound a perfect 10 out of 10.
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