A young journalist, a seasoned cameraman and a discredited war correspondent embark on an unauthorized mission to find the No.1 war criminal in Bosnia. However, their extremely dangerous target decides to come after them.
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
The wind changes directions almost 180° when Chali first meets Aaron at the park. Shots from over her shoulder have her hair blowing back, away from her neck while the shots facing her have the wind blowing her hair forward across her neck/chin. 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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