(2002)

Critic Reviews

80

Metascore

Based on 34 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
Premiere
While it may be excruciating to watch a speller miss a word by a letter, it's just as exciting to watch another kid jump the hurdle.
90
Enough drama, humor and unfiltered nail-biting suspense to put all the thrill-mongering screenwriters in Hollywood to shame.
90
Washington Post
Just might be the most action-packed suspense thriller of the summer.
90
Slate
The movie becomes a nail-biter, the audience hanging on every letter. Who could have anticipated that a spelling competition would yield such a heartbreaking thriller?
89
As good, old-fashioned dorkfests go, it doesn't get much better than the National Spelling Bee, with its arcane words, bespectacled competitors, and stinging little bell.
88
Chicago Tribune
Boasts all of the drama and suspense of any reality TV show, but it actually stars smart people. And they're kids.
80
Wall Street Journal
More to the point of this marvelous film, who knew there were kids as heroic, in their various ways, as these valiant super-spellers?
70
New York Magazine (Vulture)
Entertaining documentary.
70
An enthralling, suspenseful documentary about spelling bees.
50
New York Post
Many of the kids seem to be social outcasts of one kind or another, but Spellbound, which will show on cable later this year, doesn't dig deep enough to disturb the movie's relentless feel-good tone.

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