This film is about a hyper-vigilant employee of the department of public safety who, while training his young female replacement, has to track down a missing girl who he is convinced is connected to a paroled sex offender he is investigating.
Dr. Sullivan Travis "Dr. T." is a wealthy Dallas gynecologist for some of the wealthiest women in Texas who finds his idealist life beginning to fall apart starting when his wife, Kate, ... See full summary »
11-year-old Eliza Naumann comes from an odd family; they all divert their emotional frustrations into secret channels. When Eliza unexpectedly begins winning spelling bees, what had been a stable dynamic within the family becomes disrupted; long held secrets emerge, and a latent spiritual yearning is awakened in her withdrawn father Saul and compulsive mother Miriam. As Eliza moves closer and closer to the national spelling bee, the Naumann family finds itself in a spiral of surprising discovery and jarring uncertainty... Written by
Jonathan Murphy auditioned for the part of Aaron Naumann. See more »
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 »
National Spelling Bee Pronouncer:
Number 14. Eliza Naumann, Oakland Tribune, Oakland, California. "Oppidan".
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.
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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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