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March 2, 2003
San Jose Cinequest
95 minutes

Little Kids. Big Words. American Dreams -- SPELLBOUND.

~~Academy Award Nomination for Best Documentary of 2002
~~Independent Spirit Award Nomination for Best Documentary of 2002

Notes:...incredibly intense documentary on the National Spelling Bee...we follow seven different kids in the 8th grade...unbelievable how invested we end up in wanting the kids to win...each letter uttered from their mouths is like pulling teeth...there is an annoying bell that rings for an incorrect letter...tough...some kids are sort of pressured, but most seem to really like doing guy has people in India praying for his son't success...apparently 5000 villagers will be fed if he wins...

One funny scene is when a local store manager is interviewed saying that he supports the girl who is going to the Nationals. We pan back and see a sign at a local Hooters saying "Congradulations on the Spelling Bee!" It was sort of one of those documentaries where you laugh at people, rather than with people. Sort of the Michael Moore school of documentary filmmaking. I can't possible convey how much like sports it was to watch these kids asking for clarifications on words that you and I have never heard of. Really terrific.


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