just saw this movie and was really surprised at how endearing it was. yes, the thought of a documentary based on a spelling bee doesn’t sound all that exciting, but it really is a great film.
at it’s core, it’s a tableau of the american dream. it profiles 8 contestants in the 1999 national spelling bee. the kids run the gamut of american society and take very different paths to get to the competition. you see enough of the kids to be able to start relating to them. my favorite scene is in the beginning when nupur’s discussing her spelling confrontation with her junior high rivals(a group that looks like a multi-cultural three stooges). and my favorite character in the whole movie is angela’s dad. maybe because he reminds me of my own dad.
it’s a shame this film got beat out by bowling for columbine for the documentary oscar last year. it’s an even bigger shame that europeans form their impressions of america from michael moore’s fake documentarys when this films does a much better job of showcasing life in the different americas.