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

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Universal acclaim- based on 74 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 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
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. Reviewed by: Jim Ridley
    A sweet-natured, immensely likable family film.
  4. 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 even better if it didn't push quite so hard for its desired effects.
  5. Effectively anchoring the picture is Keke Palmer's lovely lead performance as Akeelah Anderson.
  6. You can't help but root for Akeelah as she reclaims the pride in her talents and her achievements. That's an idea worth spelling out to a young audience.
  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: 29 out of 29
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 29
  3. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. 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. Expand
  2. Aug 5, 2013
    Akeelah and the Bee 7/10..............................................................................................................................
  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. Expand

See all 29 User Reviews