What a great movie. Lee and I went to see Spellbound tonight. It’s a documentary about the National Spelling Bee. Anna recommended it months ago, and she was right – it’s great.
The movie introduces you to several of the spelling bee contestants. You see how they live, how they practice, the kind of pressure they are under. It’s amazing to see how different the contestants all are. One kid is from a farm in Texas. Her dad doesn’t speak English. Another is from an upscale area of California, and his dad hires tutors who work with the boy for hours every day on nothing but spelling while the grandfather hires 1,000 people to pray constantly during the competition.
The movie was at the same time funny and sad. It was shot very well and edited brilliantly. The girl I was really cheering for didn’t win, but that’s what makes it a real-life documentary. Your favorite doesn’t always win. But the girl who won was still nice, so it works out.
In the movie, people kept talking about how spelling was such an American tradition. Really? I wasn’t aware. I remember spelling bees from elementary and middle school, but I don’t ever remember them being big deals. I think the last spelling bee I was ever in, I was eliminated in one of the first rounds. The word was “cautious.” For some reason, the word “cat” popped into my mind, and I spelled it C-A-T-I-O-U-S. Stupid spelling bee.