5.5/10
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74 user 77 critic

Bee Season (2005)

PG-13 | | Drama | 23 November 2005 (USA)
A wife and mother begins a downward emotional spiral, as her husband avoids their collapsing marriage by immersing himself in his 11 year-old daughter's quest to become a spelling bee champion.

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay) (as Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal)

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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Chali
...
Sam Zuckerman ...
National Spelling Bee Judge
Joan Mankin ...
Ms. Bergermeyer
Piers Mackenzie ...
Dr. Morris
Lorri Holt ...
Ms. Rai
Brian Leonard ...
Mr. Julien
Jamal Thornes ...
Wiseacre Boy's Mate
...
Regional Bee Pronouncer
...
Regional Bee Judge
...
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Storyline

Living in Oakland, California, the Naumanns are outwardly a loving, supportive family. Husband and father Saul Naumann is a Religious Studies professor, and looks to his religious training in Judaism as tenets for his family to live. He has high expectations for all members of his family. His mid-teen son, Aaron Naumann, idolizes his father, and does whatever he can to please him. His pre-teen daughter, Eliza Naumann, often feels the neglected child. So when Saul eventually learns that Eliza is participating and excelling in spelling bees, she becomes the focus of his life as he believes that letters in the form of words will lead to answers to the universe. That change in focus to Eliza makes Aaron now feel the neglected one, he who strikes out quietly in his own way with the help of Chali, a young woman he meets. But the person who has felt the most pressure within Saul's way of life is his wife, Miriam Naumann, a microbiologist. She converted from Catholicism to Judaism when she ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Words may define us, but it's love that connects us. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, a scene of sensuality and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

23 November 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La huella del silencio  »

Box Office

Budget:

$14,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$120,544 (USA) (11 November 2005)

Gross:

$1,177,082 (USA) (27 January 2006)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jonathan Murphy auditioned for the part of Aaron Naumann. See more »

Goofs

The writing on the chalkboard (especially the underlines) changes between shots when Aaron and Eliza visit Saul while he is teaching his class. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
National Spelling Bee Pronouncer: Number 14. Eliza Naumann, Oakland Tribune, Oakland, California. "Oppidan".
Eliza: "Oppidan".
[sighs]
Eliza: [narrating] My father told me once that words and letters hold all the secrets of the universe. That in there shapes and sounds, I could find everything and see beyond myself, to something special. Perfect. My father told me once that I could reach the ear of God.
See more »


Soundtracks

Piano Concerto in E Major BWV 1053
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performed by Hae-Won Chang, Piano with Camerata Cassovia
Courtesy of Naxos
By Arrangement with Source/Q
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User Reviews

 
a mesmerizing tour de force: don't miss it!
12 September 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I saw this film last night at the Toronto Film Festival. I am a fan of the book, and wondered how the story could be successfully adapted as a film. I worried that the ideas were too complicated, the characters too subtle, to make the transition. When I heard that Richard Gere was going to play the role of the father, I had more serious doubts. (Richard Gere playing a Jew? Almost as ridiculous as Melanie Griffith!) But I needn't have worried. The film is nearly a masterpiece. A subtle, emotional journey through a world of spelling bees, Hare Krishna, Kaballah, Kleptomania, and the gorgeously rendered interior spaces of the imagination. Beautiful, original special effects, delightful characters, great acting. The girl who plays the daughter is excellent, as are the other actors. Juliette Binoche is heartbreaking and mysterious, Richard Gere is perfectly cast as the self-absorbed (Jewish!) father, and Anthony Minghella's son is also in the movie, believe it or not, and he's very good.

There are changes from the book. But the overall feeling is very similar. The movie is neither as funny or as dark as Myla Goldberg's novel. But the end might be more emotionally satisfying. See for yourself! You won't be disappointed if you approach with an open mind. Not for the cynical, or for the action film junkie, but I found this a delightful, rich, and emotional journey. Definitely a 10! Put it on the Oscar watch.


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