Movie: Akeelah And The Bee
Directed by: Doug Atchison
Produced by: Laurence Fishburne, Sid Ganis, Nancy Hult Ganis, Daniel, Llewelyn and Michael Romersa
Story by: David Soren
Music by: Henry Jackman
Akeelah Anderson, the 11 year old girl from South Los Angeles, attends the school for the blacks in Crenshaw. She is amazing at spelling words, and registers herself for the Scripps National Spelling Bee contest. She gets special attention at school, and also gets a personal coach, Dr. Larabee, for herself. She wins the school level contest at Crenshaw, and proceeds on the district level.
At the district level, Akeelah goes on to the contest without taking any training with Dr. Larabee, and almost fails there. But then, her sister, Kiana discovers one of the participant’s mother to have helped her son when he is on stage, and thus Akeelah qualifies. At this level, she makes friends with a boy from Woodland Hills named Javier. She also gets introduced to Dylan, the boy who came second twice in a row at the spelling bee.
Her mother is not very happy at the fact that Akeelah is missing her summer school to train for the spelling contest. Seeing that her mother is not for the competition, Akeelah signs the the consent letter by parents with her dead father’s name. She gets in to the regional level. She trains hard from Mr. Larabee and becomes thoroughly ready to take on the challenge.
She goes on to the venue of the competition and also gets through many of her opponents. But before her last turn, her mother comes to know of Akeelah forging her father’s signature, and demands that she get out of the contest right then. Mr. Welch, the school head, supports Akeelah, but Dr. Larabee agrees with Mrs. Anderson, saying that it was bad on Akeelah to have lied, and that she deserves to get out of the contest. But Mrs. Anderson realizes that her daughter must have wanted to go to the contest so badly to have lied even to her, and so, allows her to go on, with other punishments.
Dylan, Javier and Akeelah qualify for the finals. There, Javier ends up being the fifth. Dylan and Akeelah battle it out with the others. Finally, the contest comes down to just the two of them. They get a break to refresh, and at that time, Akeelah catches Dylan’s father pressurising the boy to win the contest. Akeelah decides to give up, and make Dylan win. She intentionally misspells a known word- Xanthosis, which she had first learnt from Dylan himself. Dylan realizes that Akeelah is trying to give up for him, and thus, purposefully misspells the word during his turn.
During the water break, he asks Akeelah why she did so, and tells her that he doesn’t care about what his father says. He tells her that he wants to win the contest fairly, if at all he has to win. So, Akeelah and Dylan, gear up, and spell all the words right. Finally they become co-champions, making all of their family, friends, and community proud. Dr. Labaree gets a more-than-satisfied smile, and an overwhelming hug from Akeelah.
The movie was very nice. I liked it so much. I especially liked the way Akeelah uses her “50,000 coaches” around her- family, friends, neighbours, classmates and the community. I also liked the part when Dylan says to Akeelah, “I don’t care what my father thinks. He hasn’t won anything in his life!” and they both battle it out to become co-champions!
I loved the movie and it was a good one to watch.