Documentary feature that follows eight children as they win regional Spelling Bee competitions to finally
face each other (and two hundred or so other winners) in the 1999 Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee finals in Washington, D.C. The
featured spellers come from different backgrounds, parts of the country and social classes, and they are Harry Altman, Ted Brigham, Neil
Kadakia, Emily Stagg, Angela Arenivar, April Degideo, Nupur Lala and Ashley White -- one of them does win the national prize. Directed by
Jeff Blitz. [1:37]
SEX/NUDITY 0 - None.
VIOLENCE/GORE 0 - There's no violence, but the tension and stress of competitions are palpable. Children are shown outside
their school and we hear that there was a bomb threat so they had to evacuate.
PROFANITY 1 - One mild scatological term. [profanity glossary]
DISCUSSION TOPICS - Competitions and competitiveness, pressure, stress, racism, social class, opportunity, goals, illegal
immigration, work ethic, smart kids, family, poverty, depressed Midwestern towns, principle, character, pessimism, optimism,
anti-intellectualism, religious faith, chanting and praying.
MESSAGE - The greatest achievement is to try hard to succeed, especially under economic and social circumstances that are
disadvantageous; that's even more important than winning. Smart kids are often lonely.
(Note: One of the speller's mothers smokes cigarettes.)