SPELLBOUND

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Release Date: April 30, 2003

Starring:

Genre: Documentary

Audience: All ages REVIEWER: Dr. Tom
Snyder SPELLBOUND is a
delightful documentary about
the 1999 National Spelling Bee
competition in Washington D.C.
sponsored by the
Scripps-Howard newspapers.
It's too bad that it didn't
win the OscarĀ® for Best
Documentary this year instead
of BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE,
because it is far superior to
that propagandistic,
fictitious movie. SPELLBOUND
focuses on eight young
contestants from all over the
United States, including
Florida, Pennsylvania,
California, Texas,
Connecticut, and Washington,
D.C. itself. One of the
children, Angela, comes from a
Mexican immigrant family in
Texas, a couple are from
immigrant families from India,
and the rest include a tall
gangly boy named Ted from
Missouri, a small, nerdy boy
named Harry from New Jersey
who cracks jokes and contorts
his face while spelling words,
a pessimistic speller from
Pennsylvania named April, and
a positive black girl named
Ashley who's being raised by a
single mother in Washington.
As the number of contestants
dwindles down to a few, some
of the eight must go up
against one of the top five
spellers from last year, an
Indian boy named Georgie, who
proclaims his faith in Jesus
Christ and extols the virtues
of hard work and honoring thy
father and thy
mother. SPELLBOUND contains
lots of humor, suspense and
character. The positive
interaction between the
children and their parents
almost makes the show, but the
movie also has lots of
interviews with the children
and their siblings. The final
third of the movie is an
intense, exciting look at the
tensions, joys, and
disappointments that occur at
every national spelling bee
contest. Best of all, the
winners are gracious, and the
losers are able to put their
losses behind them. Although
one of the parents briefly
mentions his Hindu guru,
SPELLBOUND contains positive
references to God, the Ten
Commandments and even Jesus
Christ. Thus, while SPELLBOUND
doesn't endorse Christianity,
it does seem to endorse a
strong belief in God and a
belief that God wants us to
work hard at developing our
God-given talents. The main
point of the movie, however,
is the strong support these
children receive from their
involved parents. The parents
work tirelessly to help their
children do their best, but
most of them seem resigned to
the fact that only one of the
contestants can win the final
competition. SPELLBOUND also
is a celebration of the good
that is America, the wonderful
country where such great
things can occur. "You don't
get any second chances in
India the way you do in
America," notes Nupur, one of
the Indian contestants who
went to the spelling bee
competition the previous year.
You wouldn't expect to come
away with a beaming patriotic
pride in the United States
from a documentary about a
spelling bee, but that's
exactly what may happen to you
if you see this wonderful
movie. Please address your
comments to: Joe
Becker THINKFilm, Inc. 1233
20th St. NW #204 Washington,
D.C. 20036 Phone: (202)
466-6012 Fax: (202)
466-6013 Website:
www.thinkfilm-inc.com

Rating: G

Runtime:

Distributor: THINKFilm

Director: Jeff Blitz

Executive Producer:

Producer:

Writer:

Address Comments To:

Content:

(BB, PP, CC, Pa, FR, PC, D) Moral worldview with positive patriotic content about American society and strong references to Jesus Christ, God, and Christianity that, however, are neither endorsed nor rejected by the documentary filmmakers, plus some light references to Hinduism, including one man from India who mentions his spiritual guru while movie shows what looks to be a shrine of some kind, and some light political correctness about multiculturalism and diversity; no obscenities or profanities; no violence; no sex, no nudity; no alcohol use; some smoking; and, nothing else objectionable.

GENRE: Documentary

BB

PP

CC

Pa

FR

PC

D

Summary:

SPELLBOUND is a delightful documentary about the 1999 National Spelling Bee competition in Washington D.C. A truly positive slice of Americana, SPELLBOUND focuses on eight of the young contestants and shows the strong support they get from their parents, siblings and some of their communities.

Review:

SPELLBOUND is a delightful documentary about the 1999 National Spelling Bee competition in Washington D.C. sponsored by the Scripps-Howard newspapers. It's too bad that it didn't win the OscarĀ® for Best Documentary this year instead of BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE, because it is far superior to that propagandistic, fictitious movie.

SPELLBOUND focuses on eight young contestants from all over the United States, including Florida, Pennsylvania, California, Texas, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C. itself. One of the children, Angela, comes from a Mexican immigrant family in Texas, a couple are from immigrant families from India, and the rest include a tall gangly boy named Ted from Missouri, a small, nerdy boy named Harry from New Jersey who cracks jokes and contorts his face while spelling words, a pessimistic speller from Pennsylvania named April, and a positive black girl named Ashley who's being raised by a single mother in Washington. As the number of contestants dwindles down to a few, some of the eight must go up against one of the top five spellers from last year, an Indian boy named Georgie, who proclaims his faith in Jesus Christ and extols the virtues of hard work and honoring thy father and thy mother.

SPELLBOUND contains lots of humor, suspense and character. The positive interaction between the children and their parents almost makes the show, but the movie also has lots of interviews with the children and their siblings. The final third of the movie is an intense, exciting look at the tensions, joys, and disappointments that occur at every national spelling bee contest. Best of all, the winners are gracious, and the losers are able to put their losses behind them.

Although one of the parents briefly mentions his Hindu guru, SPELLBOUND contains positive references to God, the Ten Commandments and even Jesus Christ. Thus, while SPELLBOUND doesn't endorse Christianity, it does seem to endorse a strong belief in God and a belief that God wants us to work hard at developing our God-given talents.

The main point of the movie, however, is the strong support these children receive from their involved parents. The parents work tirelessly to help their children do their best, but most of them seem resigned to the fact that only one of the contestants can win the final competition.

SPELLBOUND also is a celebration of the good that is America, the wonderful country where such great things can occur. "You don't get any second chances in India the way you do in America," notes Nupur, one of the Indian contestants who went to the spelling bee competition the previous year. You wouldn't expect to come away with a beaming patriotic pride in the United States from a documentary about a spelling bee, but that's exactly what may happen to you if you see this wonderful movie.

Please address your comments to:

Joe Becker

THINKFilm, Inc.

1233 20th St. NW #204

Washington, D.C. 20036

Phone: (202) 466-6012

Fax: (202) 466-6013

Website: www.thinkfilm-inc.com

In Brief: