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Parents' Guide to

Bee Season

By Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Spelling bees and family drama; not for kids.

Movie PG-13 2005 104 minutes
Bee Season Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

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Kids say (2 ):

Suffused with loss and longing, Bee Season is often, in single scenes, delicate and moving. This makes its lapses into inelegance almost more intriguing as they clash with the brief close-ups of Eliza's shallow breaths and closed eyes as she goes into trances during spelling bee competitions. Yet the movie depends too much on contrivances, stereotypes, and very slow-on-the-uptake parents and partners. All of which leaves you feeling a step ahead of the narrative, not an ideal position when contemplating spiritual "truths."

As Eliza wins trophies and accolades, she also comes to understand -- and forgive -- her parents' flaws. The movie's themes and images are evocative and sometimes cryptic, raising spiritual and emotional questions, but it tangles up the theme of literalism with plot in ways that are sometimes clunkier than they are poignant or shrewd.

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