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Eight youngsters vie for one of the most hotly contested academic awards in the United States in this documentary. Every spring, the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee attracts students from all over the United States, and filmmaker Jeff Blitz follows eight promising entrants as they journey to Washington, D.C., in hopes of claiming the national championship and a 10,000-dollar prize. Neil Kadakia, from California, has spent months training for the event with the help of his parents, computer tutorials, and professional coaches. Angela Arenivar grew up in a small Texas town with her parents,… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Spellbound is not a great piece of filmmaking, but it is more entertaining than you might expect from a story whose heroes are all brainiacs."
‑ Richard Nilsen, Arizona Republic
"A genuinely charming and often funny documentary about the high-pressured world of competitive spelling."
‑ Robert Denerstein, Denver Rocky Mountain News
"A charming and entertaining view into the world of the National Spelling Bee and a glimpse into the challenges its competitors face..."
‑ Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed
"It expands as it goes until, by the end, it presents a hopeful overview of American life. It's a wonderful movie."
‑ Jake Euker, F5 (Wichita, KS)
""Spellbound" puts you in the middle of the stressful chaos that is the National Spelling Bee."
‑ Mark Robison, Reno Gazette-Journal
"Spellbound finds its thrills with nary a chase scene nor a quick cut; it's a simple and utterly gripping story about kids, words and a microphone."
‑ Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times
"Whatever else it may be, this is also a film about being young, hopeful and focused."
‑ Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel
"Families should see this m-a-r-v-e-l-o-u-s film."
‑ Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
"One of the words that came up in the competition was hellebore - which was ironic, because it was exactly at that point that I realized I was hella bored with this film"
‑ Brian Mckay, eFilmCritic.com
"Has no right to be this insanely involving."
‑ Jeffrey Chen, Window to the Movies
"When a child stands at the microphone and frantically writes invisible letters on her hand, we can't help but love each and every one of these people."
‑ Michael Booth, Denver Post
"An unpretentious classic of the form."
‑ Ty Burr, Boston Globe
"...an effervescently charming film"
‑ Philip Martin, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
"A tribute to old-fashioned virtues of hard work, education, competition — and good spelling in a spellchecker age."
‑ Steven D. Greydanus, Decent Films Guide
"...has more heartfelt drama than in a whole alphabet of X-Men sequels. You won't need to look this one up: Spellbound is bound to please."
‑ Thomas Delapa, Boulder Weekly
More reviews for Spellbound on Rotten Tomatoes

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