Spellbound
2003
This Oscar-nominated entry documents the intense experience of the National Spelling Bee as seen through the eyes of eight young spellers, with viewers glimpsing the kids' private lives as they train for and compete in the ultimate cerebral showdown. While they try to keep their eyes on the $10,000 prize, their personal stories illuminate their quirks, their obsessive study habits and their alternately heartbreaking and inspiring family dynamics.

Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”

A children's competition is an easy subject from which to draw exhilaration and drama, and Blitz finds the right notes. He helps these kids make a real impression, which is tough considering how alike some of them look. We know that one of them will win (would Blitz show us eight losers?), but there's real drama watching them get whittled down, and young Harry Altman's facial contortions at the microphone are hilarious. Would it have killed Blitz to show us each word on the screen, though?

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