Aneesh Chaganty

Movie #319 Spellbound

In Uncategorized on September 1, 2011 at 2:09 AM

Movie #319 Spellbound

(2002, US, d. Jeffrey Blitz)

It’s the sort of film that gets you to sympathize with a bunch of characters and then pits those characters off in a highly intense battle of the brains. Spellbound is a wonderful documentary that follows a bunch of kids as they prepare of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Filmed in 1999, this documentary invades each and every one of those contestant’s personal lives – it enters their kitchens, their living rooms, their bedrooms, their books, and their social lives (if any). It is a film that carefully examines these kids – who are such outsiders to any sort of life we have been living thus far – in such a way it is impossible not to get our full sympathies. Each comes from a different socio-economic area and each wants to win the big prize – not because they want the money or the glory, but mostly because it will help them in their lives. And then finally, we are at the competition, as we watch every person we care so much about get eliminated just like that. You can’t help but feel terribly for them, but at the same time, this eases the path up for one of other favorites. It’s a documentary that analyzes lives of people who are strange, people who are eccentric, people we wouldn’t meet, and people we could never know. But it’s also a movie that examines people’s passions. And it does a wonderful job.

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