Customer Reviews

44
4.6 out of 5 stars
Akeelah And The Bee   [DVD]
Format: DVDChange
Price:£4.00+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 15 March 2009
This movie has inspired a little girl to want to read, spell and be just like Akeelah! - as I hoped it would. It even motivates me!
It was worth every cent that it cost!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
After winning her school spelling bee, Akeelah is something of a reluctant victor and unwilling to draw attention to her abilities in a school which can barely afford textbooks.

The film charts her progress as she is encouraged by her head teacher and the enigmatic Dr. Larabee to go on an be a contestant in the national spelling bee while she deals with personal problems at home. Akeelah lives in a disadvantaged part of Los Angeles and her family is dealing with the death of her father some years past. Given the economic struggles and the harsh reality of life in the ghetto, it's easy to see how winning a spelling competition is viewed in such low regard. The film shows us how Akeelah is torn by the ambition to use her intellect and shine through and the desire to simply fit in with the crowd.

Although it sometimes looks pretty obvious where the film is going and seems to incorporate many of the clichés you expect from an underdog story, the naturalistic performances and the gritty domestics bring it back down to earth and the characters feel real enough for you to care about what happens. Akeelah And The Spelling Bee doesn't shy away from highlighting the social divide created by having communities at opposite ends of the wealth spectrum, issues such as snobbery and racism are present and tackled in a way that doesn't feel forced. The film doesn't go on a crusade, it simply presents a good story in a way which reveals a lot about modern life in America. This probably represents life in the rougher urban areas more accurately than most films, the folk there aren't all tagged with stereotypes, they are people with depth and the same hopes, fears, and capacity achieve their full potential as the rest of us.

In a nutshell: This almost feels like a spin on the Karate Kid - Akeelah is the young Daniel who is struggling to find direction in life and is being bullied, and Dr. Larabee - the past winner of the competition is Mr Miyagi - a tutor whose methodology appears strange at first, but reveals itself to be a holistic approach to becoming champion. This has been described as a `feel-good' film, and it certainly is. It might not be particularly original, but it's an honest tale about a girl you want to see succeed, you get behind her and become absorbed in her story.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 11 August 2010
Though this film was made in America, the three main child characters are from ethnic backgrounds and echo situations that arise elsewhere, particularly in multicultural Britain (which is my neck of the woods). This would be an important film to be shown in some of the problem schools in cities where low self esteem in the pupils has resulted in bad behaviour and slipped standards. However, a viewing in private and all white schools would also help to improve their opinion of intelligene within the Black community. We should definitely be producing more films with this up-beat message.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 July 2010
it's the kind of movie you want to see when you need to feel good, and sheer up..
very sweet and the young actress is very good indeed.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 3 February 2011
This was a brilliant family movie which was both inspiring and entertaining. It is about a girl Akeelah, who is from the not so posh part of her neighbourhood in the U.S. Her late father loved literacy and she has a talent and method for spelling the hardest of words. When her headmaster encourages her to enter spelling bees she refuses due to her mothers (the great Angela Bassett) lack of interest. Please note that her mother was not negative but over worked and stressed now having to bring up her family on her own... Akeelah enters the spelling bees anyway and discovers a whole new world. With hard work and tutoring from an experience professor (the also great Laurence Fishburn) and assistance and encouragement from her community at large... Well watch the film and see the results. Really inspirational film to watch with your children (of spelling age (-:)
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 9 November 2009
This was such a feel good film that leaves you inspired and filled with joy.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 December 2013
GOOD PRODUCT, MY CHILDREN LOVE WATCHING IT AGAIN AND AGAIN. WILL LIKE TO BUY ONE MORE FOR A FAMILY FRIEND
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 31 August 2006
Akeelah And the Bee is so warm and heart wrenching, so full of power and emotion that you can forgive the film for being formulaic and deliberately tugging at the heartstrings. Featuring a truly bravura performance by the young Keke Palmer is Akeelah, this film is one of the best feel-good family movies to come along in years and certainly one of the best films of 2006.

Akeelah (Palmer) is an 11-year-old sixth-grader at Crenshaw Middle School in South Los Angeles, she's bright - she even aces all the class spelling tests - but she has a bit of an attitude problem, partly caused by the unmotivated feeling of those around her, and the idea that to be intelligent is not considered "cool."

But deep down Akeelah loves words and it's something she shared with her late father. Avella's mom, Tanya (Angela Bassett), is too busy trying to keep her life and family together to pay much attention. She has one young son flirting with being a gangbanger and another son is doing well in the Air Force, so Tanya just doesn't want to be bothered with what she views as the foolishness of spelling competitions.

Spurred on by the school principal (Curtis Armstrong) Akeelah is encouraged to enter the Crenshaw school spelling bee, even though she doesn't really want to do it. She of course wins, and but she's going to need help if she wants to make it through other contests. She finds a mentor in the somber Dr. Larabee (Lawrence Fishburne) who is on sabbatical from his position as chairman of the UCLA English department and has a lot of time on his hands.

From the outset these two very different people are destined to clash. He views her as insolent; and she sees no reason to be interested in the broader cultural education he wants her to master in addition to spelling. However, they soon warm to each other and Akeelah immerses herself in the world of spelling where she meets fellow contestants Javier (J.R. Villarreal) is a gregarious Latino with supportive parents and the mechanical Dylan (Sean Michael Afable) who is being pressured to win the Bee by his humorless and stern Asian American father.

Will Akeelah make it to the National Spelling Bee in Washington? And will Tanya eventually come around and support her daughter's efforts? The evolving relationship between Akeelah and her mentor forms the core of this movie, as Dr. Larabee tries to temper Akeelah's fears. But the biggest surprise comes at the end where writer-director Doug Atchison surprisingly deviates from the tried and true formula. The outcome depends not on who will win the bee, necessarily - but on the moral and ethical choices that our young heroine makes.

Atchison occasionally piles on the melodrama a bit thick, but he gets away with it because his cast is so good, especially the young Keke Palmer, who should indeed get an Oscar nomination for this. You expect nothing but emotional truth and top-notch performances from Fishburne and Bassett, but it's the young Palmer who wins your heart with a feat of acting that's so completely honest and free of affectation. Mike Leonard August 06.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Spellbound [DVD] [2003]
Spellbound [DVD] [2003] by Harry Altman|Angela Arenivar|Ted Brigham (DVD - 2005)
£7.95

Fly Away Home [DVD] [1996]
Fly Away Home [DVD] [1996] by Jeff Daniels (DVD - 2002)
£3.99

 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.