Akeelah and the Bee

Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 79 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: An inspirational drama, Akeelah and the Bee is the story of Akeelah Anderson (Palmer), a precocious eleven-year old girl from south Los Angeles with a gift for words. Despite the objections of her mother (Bassett), Akeelah enters various spelling contest, for which she is tutored by theAn inspirational drama, Akeelah and the Bee is the story of Akeelah Anderson (Palmer), a precocious eleven-year old girl from south Los Angeles with a gift for words. Despite the objections of her mother (Bassett), Akeelah enters various spelling contest, for which she is tutored by the forthright Dr. Larabee (Fishburne), her principal Mr. Welch (Armstrong) and the proud residents of her neighborhood. Akeelah's aptitude earns her an opportunity to compete for a spot in the Scripps National Spelling Bee and in turn united her neighborhood who witness the courage and inspiration of one amazing little girl. (Lionsgate) Expand
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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. 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."
  3. 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 underdog tale that manages to inspire without being sappy.
  4. 70
    While it can't have been easy to find action points for a drama about vocabulary drills, Atchison comes up with a steady stream of plot-propelling business, including Akeelah's flair for jump rope, a skill that serves her beautifully in a clinch moment.
  5. Effectively anchoring the picture is Keke Palmer's lovely lead performance as Akeelah Anderson.
  6. 67
    As the conceptually similar documentary "Spellbound" proved, spelling bees are innately dramatic. But that doesn't keep Atchison from constantly pushing the film toward theatrical moments instead of letting the drama arise organically from the story.
  7. 50
    It's unfortunate that the lack of originality in plot and character keeps Akeelah and the Bee stuck firmly in "After-School Special" territory.

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 32
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 32
  3. Negative: 2 out of 32
  1. ClaudiaB.
    Nov 7, 2006
    10
    Excellent movie that portrayed an African AMerican female in a positive manner. Kudos to the producers and the acting cast. KeKe Palmer, Excellent movie that portrayed an African AMerican female in a positive manner. Kudos to the producers and the acting cast. KeKe Palmer, Angela Bassett, and Laurence Fishburne- you are a complete unit. The whole Kenwood High School viewed your movie and discussed various character traits that were associated with the movie. Our school is reflective of some of the same demographics associated with the movie- many students were inspired to learn new words. Expand
  2. DoctorP.
    Jul 4, 2006
    10
    you only think you know the final outcome, but even so, there r so many little treats along the way to make even the journey pleasurable. you only think you know the final outcome, but even so, there r so many little treats along the way to make even the journey pleasurable. given the inherant difficulty of making any spelling b seem exciting for any1 not directly involved, this movie is a triumph. sure, the story has been told b4 - what story hasn't? but not this well, or as heart tuggingly (if thats a word). this is family entertainment with a profound messege & a great deal of fun along the way. Expand
  3. Jan 18, 2014
    9
    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 anyAll 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. Expand
  4. KenP.
    Apr 23, 2006
    8
    Anyone who's seen Spellbound won't be surprised that a movie about the national spelling bee can be exciting, funny and uplifting. Anyone who's seen Spellbound won't be surprised that a movie about the national spelling bee can be exciting, funny and uplifting. A really enjoyable movie, with some terrific performances, especially from some of the kids. Expand
  5. TyeN.
    Oct 3, 2006
    8
    Although it has a few too many clichéd montages towards the end, and a couple of far fetched moments, the emotion is absolutely real. Although it has a few too many clichéd montages towards the end, and a couple of far fetched moments, the emotion is absolutely real. Keke Palmer is astounding and fierce as Akeelah, a very intelligent and lovable eleven-year-old who is unfortunately born in a poor neighborhood and attends a poor school. It rang especially true for me as I grew up in a similar situation. Even if you can't relate (and there are many relatable levels here), you should still enjoy 'Akeelah and the Bee' as a film that the whole family can watch and be inspired by. Expand
  6. Mase
    May 6, 2006
    7
    Well we already have the far superior documentary "spellbound" and also the miscalculated "bee season". this fits somwhere between. Often Well we already have the far superior documentary "spellbound" and also the miscalculated "bee season". this fits somwhere between. Often predictable and too long, there is still a uplifting spirit and strong performances throughout. You will smile throughout. Go if you can't stomach watching a documentary. Expand
  7. Jun 2, 2015
    0
    This movie is AWFUL, I can't believe it got a 72, it deserves a 7.2. We're watching this in class, and I wish we were actually doing classworkThis movie is AWFUL, I can't believe it got a 72, it deserves a 7.2. We're watching this in class, and I wish we were actually doing classwork instead of watching it, that's how bad it is. There's a cliche every 5 seconds and it's insanely cringe worthy at almost all moments, it's not even remotely realistic, how do people like this? **** this movie. Expand

See all 32 User Reviews

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