Akeelah and the Bee

Released 2006


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Movie Summary

Doug Atchison
Akeelah and the Bee is a 2006 dramatic film written and directed by Doug Atchison. Akeelah (Keke Palmer) is an 11-year-old middle school student in South Los Angeles. Akeelah has a penchant for spelling, and when she enters the Crenshaw School wide Spelling Bee, she easily takes first place. Dr. Joshua Larabee (Laurence Fishburne) takes an interest in Akeelah and soon discovers that her spelling abilities could send her all the way to the Scripps National Spelling Bee. In the district spelling bee Akeelah takes the tenth, and final, qualifying spot. She becomes friends with Javier Mendez (J.R. Villarreal), a 12-year-old Mexican American boy who has a crush on her. Javier invites Akeelah to the join the Woodland Hills middle school spelling club. There she meets other spelling bee champions and is able to convince Dr. Larabee to be her coach. Despite a few more setbacks, Akeelah is able to make it to Washington D.C. for the national bee, and compete for a shot at first prize. Also starring Angela Bassett and Curtis Armstrong, Akeelah and the Bee was both a critical and box office success.moreless


Metacritic Score

  • 80

    The New York Times Lawrence Van Gelder

    The innate suspense and charm of the spelling bee, along with a trio of crack performances, turn what is in essence a formulaic sports picture into something more satisfying: an un...

  • 70

    Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan

    A genuinely sweet and determinedly inspirational family film that features a charming young actress in the title role. It's a successful feel-good movie, but it would make you feel...

  • 70

    Variety Justin Chang

    This earnest weepie plays like "The Karate Kid" with a pro-literacy agenda, pushing all the right emotional buttons yet hitting quite a few wrong ones in the process.

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More Info About This Movie


Documentary, Drama


Family Dramas