aelst’s review

Funny documentary about 8 spelling bee contestants in America. I’ve heard about spelling bees in the past, but never thought that were so involved (the final stages of the bee end up on television!) We don’t have anything like that in Australia. The movie introduces us to the contestants, who are introduced in order of ascending weirdness. They are all young, grade 8.

I personally don’t think spelling is that important, and studying a dictionary is slightly crazy. I haven’t heard of most of the words in the final stages of the bee, and I couldn’t even find some in my dictionary. It mustn’t have been big enough..

During my youth I’ve known some geeky people, but nothing can prepare you for these kids. 3 and a half stars

ratbag’s review

I’ve always believed that the United States produced the largest extreme of people, from the smartest, to the stupidest, to the weirdest, craziest, etc. from what I had observed from their daytime talk shows, footage of their science fiction conventions, movie references, etc. Throughout the movie I had to constantly remind myself that I was watching a documentary, and the characters I was watching on the screen were Real People!

The spellers were selected from a cross section of Average America — all bright kids; however, you can’t help but feel that they were probably not part of the popular group at school, as they preferred their own company, or the company of their dictionaries. Some were kids of hard-working migrants. One common trait that they shared was that they were very driven, focused individuals — a trait certainly to be admired, as most adults have lost that sort of drive or ambition.

With the support of their families, with some battling self-esteem problems, and one seemed to have ADHD, we hope that these kids are able apply their vigour to other areas of their lives, and to become successful adults.

A very educational and entertaining documentary. Recommended!