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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Akeelah and the Bee is a G-o-o-d Movie
on 3 July 2007
I have been excited to see Akeelah and the Bee for several months now, ever since I saw the first trailer. And perhaps my review is tainted with bias, but I thought this film was great. We have been wanting to see a family film touch us this way for quite some time. This is a film about connection, and proves yet again that casting is key.
I want to say that Fishburne made this movie, and I would, if it weren't for phenom Keke Palmer. Keke as Akeelah stole the limelight from seasoned veterans Laurence Fishburne and playing her mother, Angela Bassett. Bassett did a phenomenal job as well as her overworked, worrisome mother. Fishburne wowed me with his performance as a collegiate professor weighted down with a difficult past; one strikingly similar to Akeelah's path. Others pepper the screen with helpful great acting, including Friday NIGHT LIGHT's Lee Thompson Young and REVENGE OF THE NERDS Curtis Armstrong. And finally surprising performances from Akeelah's friends. The young actors did not overplay their parts like many children; they convince the audience they are just other normal kids that can spell words like djkflhsdufhis.
The film does a great job of painting a picture of the rough neighborhood without going overboard like so many movies do nowadays. It was enough to know her brother ran with a bad crowd, whereas in cliché movies, her brother might have been shot or gotten into drugs. Knowing that this little girl raised to hopes of the entire neighborhood was not unrealistic, either. Many movies have given realistic accounts of East L.A.; this does a great job of showing how bad it is, without showing us how bad it is.
Finally, the drama behind this film comes from its love, its friendship. By the end of the film you are sure to have a lump in your throat, you realize that each and every relationship in this film is engulfed in friendship albeit different kinds. If you've ever had a mentor, a best friend, a fresh love, a child, a lost parent, a brother, sister, a caring teacher or president, or even a friendly rivalry, you will love this movie.