Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 30
  2. Negative: 0 out of 30
  1. 100
    Keke Palmer, a young Chicago actress whose first role was as Queen Latifah's niece in "Barbershop 2," becomes an important young star with this movie. It puts her in Dakota Fanning and Thora Cross territory, and there's something about her poise and self-possession that hints she will grow up to be a considerable actress.
  2. Reviewed by: Devin Gordon
  3. 88
    All the gears, in fact, are shamelessly visible, yet they lock smoothly and resonantly into place. If Akeelah and the Bee is a generic, well-oiled commercial contraption, it is the first to credibly dramatize the plight of a truly gifted, poor black child.
  4. Blessed with excellent turns by Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne, this feel-gooder revels in its hip-to-be-square hyperliteracy, and neatly exceeds its own PSA-ness, practically amounting to a black, preteen "Good Will Hunting."
  5. A movie like this could easy slide into Shirley Temple territory, showcasing a child actor so full of sweetness and light and good, old-fashioned spunk that audiences wince. But Palmer, whose enthusiasm and energy never seem forced, avoids all those traps; her Akeelah is never less than believable.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 76 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 30
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 30
  3. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. Apr 27, 2014
    i already seen keke win the spelling be a thousands of times . this movie is gay an i can not believe critics are loving this . Grade F.......................................................................... Full Review »
  2. Jan 18, 2014
    All in all, this is an incredibly inspiring movie that is so heartfelt and intellectual at the same time. A very rare film that will make any age group fall in love with the characters. Full Review »
  3. Sep 20, 2013
    You will be amazed by this movies ability to make you laugh and cry at the same time; and Keke Palmer is just great. There are some flaws, but 75% of the movie is on par. Full Review »