Become a Premium Member | Only $2 a month

► You're making sure we survive
► Exclusive previews
► No more ads





Although our site is very popular, the current economic climate has reduced our revenues just when we need extra security to prevent attacks from hackers who don't like what we do. If you think what we do is worthwhile, please donate or become a member.


Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

 [more »]

Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10

MPAA Rating: G

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.)

Special Keywords: S0 - V0 - P1 - MPAAG

Our Ratings Explained

Tell Friends About Our Site

Become a Member

A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.

INAPPROPRIATE ADS? We have little control over ads since we belong to ad agencies that serve ads automatically; a standing order should prevent provocative ads, but inappropriate ads do sneak in.
What you can do



Become a member: You can subscribe for as little as a couple of dollars a month and gain access to our premium site, which contains no ads whatsoever. Think about it: You'll be helping support our site and guarantee that we will continue to publish, and you will be able to browse without any commercial interruptions.


Tell all your friends: Please recommend to your friends and acquaintances; you'll be helping them by letting them know how useful our site is, while helping us by increasing our readership. Since we do not advertise, the best and most reliable way to spread the word is by word-of-mouth.


Alert local & national media: Let major media know why you trust our ratings. Call or e-mail a local newspaper, radio station or TV channel and encourage them to do a story about our site. Since we do not have a PR firm working for us, you can be our media ambassadors.

Copyright © 1992- Critics. All rights reserved. "Kids-In-Mind™" and "Movie Ratings That Actually Work™" are Service Marks of Critics. For legal queries please see our Terms of Use; for comments or questions see our contact page.