Friday, December 29, 2006

Grab Bag Friday: Akeelah and the Bee

So Christmas is over, and there are still at least a few restless days left of school vacation. Well, my advice is to pop up some popcorn, toss some marshmallows in hot cocoa and curl up in front of Akeelah and the Bee. You can probably get it at your library, or on Netflix, or at your local video store.

I loved this movie. Briefly, it's the story of Akeelah, a young girl from South Central Los Angeles who has a gift for spelling. Her principal, hoping to bring good publicity to a school in rough shape, encourages her to enter the spelling bee competition.

Now, I assumed (child actors, spelling bees, South Central L.A.) that this was going to be an over-the-top, cheesy, hit-you-over-the-head Hollywood movie. I was surprised to find a very real, inspiring, and uncommon (in Hollywood, anyway) portrayal of not only finding one's own way, but finding that path by creating and relying on community, and how having that sense of community can have a very real impact on the lives of so many individuals. Keke Palmer (Akeelah) plays her role with a sincerity and lack of self-conciousness that is absolutely refreshing.

I won't say too much, because I hate when reviews and previews tell you the entire movie. If you watch it, let me know what you think. Happy New Year!

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