Parent reviews for Akeelah and the Bee

Common Sense says

Inspiring drama about a champion speller; OK for tweens.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 44 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 56 reviews
Adult Written byJake Jack Justi... January 1, 2019

Great movie but parent beware.

Great movie! Great message! However, parents of children under 9 need to know that words like ‘idiot,’ ‘stupid’ ‘What the hell’ and ‘shut up’are used. Discussion about Akeelah’s father being murdered by gun shot as well as talks about her coach’s daughter’s death. Might be a bit hard to absorb for sensitive young children. Other than that, a fantastic film.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 7, 10, and 13-year-old Written byDenise A. December 30, 2018

great, but rough at times

Yes, there's some tough language - just once or twice- and it's a harsh environment that the story lives in- but brains and tenacity triumph, and our lily-white privileged kids loved loved loved this movie. It opened up much discussion, all of it good- but this is a wonderful and rare movie with a great spirit and positive message.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byCommonSenseChristian May 2, 2015

How Do You Spell Love?

Akeelah and the Bee is a great movie for anyone who loves words and books, but it's also an enjoyable family flick for anyone, no matter their academic history. Eleven-year-old Akeelah Anderson is a smart, plucky heroine dealing with real-life issues--she wants and needs to express her gifts but feels that an unsupportive school, a rough family life, and her impoverished neighborhood are dragging her down. She gets unexpected help from Dr. Joshua Larabee, a professor who abandoned classroom teaching after a personal tragedy and coaches her all the way to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. Akeelah also discovers that within her neighborhood, there exists a ton of love and support she wasn't aware of before.

Positive elements abound here. Dr. Larabee helps Akeelah embrace her identity and pushes her to do her best, though his methods can be stern at times. Akeelah learns to appreciate her family and neighbors, and opens up enough to make new friends along the way. In one key scene, she reaches out to help a boy once considered her enemy, and he returns the favor. Her final triumph is not in how well she can spell, but how much she and others around her have grown.

Some caveats exist. Akeelah's mother does not support her participation in spelling bees at first because she's terrified her daughter will lose a competition and become "one of 200 losers." Her expression of this is sometimes overly stern. Akeelah, for her part, deals with this through understandable but not always necessary disobedience.

Akeelah's family is struggling in many ways. Her older sister is a teen mom, and her older brother is on the cusp of gang life. Mrs. Anderson explains that her husband, with whom Akeelah was very close, was shot when the little girl was six in an act of random violence. Stereotypes of blacks and Asians are expressed. The father of Akeelah's biggest rival is an unsympathetic man who overworks and browbeats his son, which in turn causes him to bully the other competitors. Dr. Larabee disrespects Akeelah's heritage when he tells her to avoid "ghetto speak" in his home. The death of his young daughter from an unnamed illness is discussed.

In general, this movie is sure to become a classic, the millennial era's version of movies like Searching for Bobby Fischer. Join your children for a viewing, and don't be surprised if they show more enthusiasm about their spelling homework.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 5 and 8-year-old Written bykitkat2 October 2, 2012

Most inspiring family movie we have seen in a while.

My husband and I watched this film with our two children (5 and 8) and we absolutely loved it. All four of us were sitting on the edge of our seats until the end. I was surprised at how my 5 year old boy who is in Pre-K (and is dying to learn how to read) was captivated by the story. The way Akeelah stands up to the bullies and pursues her dreams was very inspiring for my daughter. Akeelah develops new friendships but very importantly she does not forget or neglect the friendship she had with a girl before the contest. All these messages were so relevant and powerful for my 8 year old daughter. Wish there were more family films like this one...

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Language
Parent Written bySarahrm2014 August 1, 2020

Great movie not for young kids

Good story... complex plot...will get kids excited for school

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 7-year-old Written bymrw910free April 20, 2020

Positive messages

There should be more stories like this
Parent of a 7, 9, and 9-year-old Written bynachshon1 December 25, 2019

The bee story

Great friendship, the heroine shows lots of confidence

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byMarzypan November 16, 2019

Coming of Age

Unafraid to be smart and step into her own. We love Akeelah.

This title contains:

Positive role models
Adult Written bymarlebismarielb... December 25, 2018

akeelah

pienso que esta peli nos enseña a superarnos y que podemos aser y dar mas que lo que podemos dar

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Parent of a 11-year-old Written byMichelle B. May 13, 2018

Great movie with a great message!!

My 11 year old daughter and I love this movie! It had us on our feet a few times, cheering for Akeelah! It has a great message about working hard for what you want and whats right, despite what those closest to you think. It also shows how passion and determination can pay off and can even bring everyone together. It is a great movie that will definitely be watched again and again.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byRowley C. April 25, 2018
Parent of a 9-year-old Written byMeerkat.dog.yo February 8, 2016

Very interesting, good messages, some swearing.

This is a very good movie for kids. It sends great messages about standing up for yourself and being compassionate. Brief strong language: one use of
"s--t," a few of "a--," and more frequent uses of "damn," and "hell." Some kissing.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 4, 9, and 11-year-old Written bylola459 February 6, 2016

Heartwarming underdog story, but has language

We loved this movie about a girl with spelling talent who overcomes the odds against her. There is language (a**, and b**ch), but less that 5 times. There is a positive message in this movie of standing up for yourself, facing fears. Great for families and girls.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent Written byCourtney W. November 24, 2015

Quality Film

Akeelah and The Bee is another film that garners my top rating: entertaining and enriching. I watched this film with my two kids, 9 and 12, and we all loved it. Akeelah's life is not easy; her story is one of perseverance. There is some foul language and some verbal and physical bullying, but I felt my 9-year-old could handle it. A great movie for the whole family, I recommend this film for mature 9's and up. Two thumbs up.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Language
Adult Written byclarence August 5, 2015
Adult Written bybeccaincameroon August 5, 2013

Great Film, but should not watch without language filter

We are very careful with what we let our children watch. I will say right up front that if we had not used a TV Guardian we could have never watched this with our entire family. However, aside from the bad language, this film was wonderful! There were many teaching moments and of course we enjoyed rooting for Akeelah! There is one scene where Fishburne is drinking - though most kids wouldn't even realize what he was drinking, and another scene where Akeelah's mom is smoking, but these are very small parts of the film that don't detract in any way from the message. My youngest, just turned 7, was engrossed the entire time. She is now going around the house jump-roping and "spelling" made-up words. :)

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Language
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult Written bychristian-witness June 28, 2012

ok

This title contains:

Positive role models
Sexy stuff
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult Written byNew_Ark December 3, 2011

One Word - Empowering

This movie has a variety of messages. Particularly one message is that communities must stick together to see true, positive change. Thumbs up!!!

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 9-year-old Written bymarvelousmom August 2, 2011

Great movie, but some language.

Great movie, but it contains inappropriate language. There are two scenes where a girl kisses a boy, and one scene where the boy says "Are you going to sue me for sexual harassment?". In one scene the main character is getting bullied at school. These things made me uncomfortable at first but there were some very positive messages and good karma.

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Sexy stuff
Language
Parent of a 6 and 7-year-old Written byH2Clark November 23, 2010

We were on the edge of our seats!

I liked that his movie was a drama and not a cartoon, or comedy for kids. This movie had all of us on the edge of our seats at the very end. My 6yo lost interest and was playing on the iPod by the end of the movie. But for my 8yo and husband we loved this and will be watching it again. The language mention of [email protected] at the beginning was quick and nothing my kid haven't over heard from other adults!

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