Parents' Guide to

Akeelah and the Bee

By Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Inspiring drama about a young spelling champ has swearing.

Movie PG 2006 112 minutes
Akeelah and the Bee Movie Poster: Akeelah stands at a microphone in a pink shirt, with various other characters' faces above her

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 30 parent reviews

age 6+

Outstanding movie, with lots of motivation.

Akeelah and the Bee is one of the best movies I have ever watched in my life, the pacing, energy and motivation was without doubt excellent. The movie started with an 11-year-old Afro American girl who lost her father to a murder at the age of six but the memory of playing a game with him called scramble has really instil in her the exceptional ability to recognize words and spell them , struggling through different pressure from bullies and her bother who was an hooligan and her traumatized mother were factors that reduced herself- esteem. She was an highly intelligent, low self esteem student who was bullied at school, she went through it all and was fortunate to meet a coach, Mr Larabee, who also had a tragic past, but an exceptional Doctor who helped to bring the best out of her, she struggled with her new face of life with competitions and other white kids but she proved the bullies wrong, she made a reality that the trauma and tragic past might persist but success can be attained, this movie is a compilation hardwork, perseverance, diligence and inspiration to those who a struggling with bullies and need help. It also shows that intelligence has to be guided and properly pruned to result in excellence, because even though she was intelligent she had to go under teaching and proper tutelage to become exceptional, The movie shows love and community support, her community were very awesome at supporting her training, I also appreciate how her school teacher and principle encouraged her to participate in the spelling bee, even though she was reluctant at first. To the last ending part which was the competition, it shows the importance of hardwork and teamwork, and a union and unity between black children and the white, it was a very exciting moment for me when I discovered, the tie was possible and both kids made it to the final round and they were both winners. Akeelah and the bee was a well balanced movie with, little humour, excitement, suspense and motivation, the only moment I thought they might have changed was when there was a kiss on the cheek, it might not be of acceptance to some parents, but a very fantastic movie overall. For this movie, I will vehemently recommend it to children, teenagers and adults who really movies that are made not just for entertainment this is a movie that expresses core values, determination, diligence, inspiration and the power of mentor-ship and guidance, It shows that success can be achieved even though, there might be some tragic background and events in our life.
age 8+

Best movie we’ve watched in months

Watch this movie! My 5 year old called it “a little boring”, but my 10 year old loved it. Great messages and a strong female lead. Seriously, you should watch this movie today.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (30 ):
Kids say (49 ):

In large part, this film's delights have to do with Palmer's winning performance, most apparent in one-on-one scenes with her mom or coach. But Akeelah and the Bee also has something else going on: Embracing the conventions that make so many other genre films feel stale, director Doug Atchison tweaks them slightly with fun details, such as the way Akeelah taps out letters on her thigh with her fingers or sees the letters in her head as she jumps rope. Overall, the film's earnest messages of perseverance and sportsmanship are hard to refute. And feel-good scenes of a low-income neighborhood rallying around a prodigal daughter make this a charming watch.

Akeelah and the Bee may be too familiar of a sports narrative -- and too shallow to offer any real commentary on how Black children can thrive in an underfunded public school system -- but it does deliver a heaping dose of "Black girl magic" for older kids and tweens.

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