MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 9,620 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 10,338 users   Metascore: 80/100
Reviews: 103 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...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 23 titles
created 18 Jun 2011
 
a list of 24 titles
created 01 Oct 2012
 
a list of 49 titles
created 20 Jun 2013
 
a list of 46 titles
created 10 months ago
 
a list of 24 titles
created 7 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 17 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

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
    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
Control Room (2004)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A documentary on perception of the United States's war with Iraq, with an emphasis on Al Jazeera's coverage.

Director: Jehane Noujaim
Stars: Samir Khader, Josh Rushing, George W. Bush
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
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A documentary that investigates the birth and death of the electric car, as well as the role of renewable energy and sustainable living in the future.

Director: Chris Paine
Stars: Martin Sheen, Tom Hanks, Mel Gibson
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
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Kirby Dick's exposé about the American movie ratings board.

Director: Kirby Dick
Stars: Kirby Dick, Kimberly Peirce, Darren Aronofsky
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Conversations with death row inmate Michael Perry and those affected by his crime serve as an examination of why people - and the state - kill.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Werner Herzog, Richard Lopez, Michael Perry
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A documentary on Al Gore's campaign to make the issue of global warming a recognized problem worldwide.

Director: Davis Guggenheim
Stars: Al Gore, Billy West, George Bush
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Film-maker Werner Herzog travels to the McMurdo Station in Antarctica, looking to capture the continent's beauty and investigate the characters living there.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Werner Herzog, Scott Rowland, Stefan Pashov
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Terry Gilliam's doomed attempt to get his film, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, off the ground.

Directors: Keith Fulton, Louis Pepe
Stars: Terry Gilliam, Johnny Depp, Jeff Bridges
Food, Inc. (2008)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

An unflattering look inside America's corporate controlled food industry.

Director: Robert Kenner
Stars: Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, Richard Lobb
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

Harry Altman: Does this sound like a musical robot?
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

References All in the Family (1971) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
a great film
31 May 2004 | by See all my reviews

"Spellbound" is one of those documentaries that isn't soaked with politics or social dilemmas, but it is touches on them indirectly. It's the story of 8 kids from all over the United States, their study habits, lives, relationships with parents and personal beliefs, views and opinions. And how they make it to the National Spelling Bee Contest.

These stories are all incredibly touching - my favorite is about one of the girls' grandfathers who illegally crossed the border into the U.S., got held at a detention center, then, finally accepted into the US, worked really hard and finally now, in his old age is able to say that he is happy. That he saw his kids get great education and good opportunities; essentially that all his hard work didn't go to waste.

The film is also tense - it communicates the tension inherent in any contest quite effectively here. By acquainting the viewer with the children before the contest an empathy is established and you find yourself rooting for them. You may not even realize it until, towards the end of the film, the filmmakers throw in a brief interview with a young, Jesus-freak kid and I didn't care which one of the eight kids featured in the documentary won as long as he didn't. I got what some would call "passionate" about the outcome of the contest.

Needless to say, it's a great story. It explores the tensions of fitting in at school, parental pressure, competitiveness and hobby/interest becoming an obsession. Some have said that it is a film about America, but I wouldn't venture as far. The film says far too little about the origins and history behind the Spelling Bee contest to be about an "American phenomenon," much less about a "phenomenon" of any kind. It's a film about one Spelling Bee, but even more so about eight kids who compete in it. And their parents and siblings and teachers. It's easy as hell to get a rush of memories from childhood watching this film, and it's oftentimes easy to cringe at the intensity of the entire affair. But, all in all, "Spellbound" is a great documentary which doesn't belittle its subject, but gives it its fullest attention - the product is a tense, funny and dramatic film about kids bonding over a common obsession, while aggressively competing. Logorrhea.


24 of 28 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