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Spellbound Review

  • Release Date: May 16, 2003
  • Rated:
  • Runtime: 1 hr. 36 min.
  • Genres: Art House/Foreign, Drama
  • Director:Jeffrey Blitz

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Casts a potent spell.

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  • 80

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    More to the point of this marvelous film, who knew there were kids as heroic, in their various ways, as these valiant super-spellers?

  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Mark Caro

    Boasts all of the drama and suspense of any reality TV show, but it actually stars smart people. And they're kids.

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  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Thrilling little epic set in the bewildering arena of the English language.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Spellbound reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 9+

Families should see this m-a-r-v-e-l-o-u-s film.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this documentary has some tense and sad scenes. Children are upset when they lose (they are escorted onstage to a "comfort room"). One child uses a mildly bad word.

  • Families can talk about how the families in the movie, especially the immigrant families and those at the lower end of the economic spectrum, see the importance of the spelling bee.

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: Determination, hard work, and following your goals and dreams are great take-aways here.

What to watch for
  • violence false0

    Violence: Tense scenes of competition.

  • sex false0

    Sex: Not an issue

  • language false0

    Language: One very brief word.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: A parent possibly impaired by drugs or alcohol at one point.