Akeelah and the Bee is e-x-c-e-p-t-i-o-n-a-l. Growing up, spelling bees were a mandatory function in schools. Every child had to participate and spell whatever word they were given. With no practice or preperation. Whoever the best speller was, would move on in competitions that could eventually lead to the National Spelling Bee. I was never much of a speller, but Akeelah and the Bee still caught my attention. Even though the poster made me think it was a horror movie. Akeelah is an 11 year old black child who lives in the inner city. Nobody would have expected a spelling genius would come from there. Akeelah is able to recall hundreds of words perfectly. Leading to a better life for her and her community. Akeelah and the Bee makes spelling competitions feel so high stakes. I’ve watched the national competitions a few times and they do seem very nerve racking. Some of the kids look like they’re on the verge of passing out. Keke Palmer was a great child actress. She makes Akeelah feel real without being too heavy handed. Which is how I would describe the rest of the movie. A family friendly PG that doesn’t sugar coat its environment. They even got respectable actors like Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett to play a part. Akeelah and the Bee is a w-i-n-n-e-r!