Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Akeela and the Bee - Movie Review

My friend Matt has been recommending this movie for a long time.  Despite it's potentially nerdy and boring main event (a national spelling bee), Akeela and the Bee is moving and poignant, hopeful and provocative.
Akeela attends a substandard school in South Los Angeles, but she is an exceptional speller.  With encouragement from her teacher, she enters the school's spelling bee.  Her principal sees her as an opportunity to rejuvenate the school and enlists an outside expert (Samuel L. Jackson) to coach her.
As Akeela slowly studies and advances in the national spelling bee, she, her coach, her family, her school, and her broader community are slowly drawn into a beautiful process of healing.  One of the most moving bits of the movie is when the community comes together to help Akeela practice.  It really demonstrates the power of community and the power of one person to make a difference in the life of others.
This may not be Oscar worthy, but it is hands-down the best family movie I've watched in a long, long time.  The Josh rating here is a little difficult.  It barely inches into 5Js: JJJJJ - mostly because I think we should all watch it and be inspired to go and love-likewise.

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