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Rated PG · 112 minutes · 2006
Coming on the heels of Spellbound and Bee Season, this small gem (2006) about a South Central LA girl with a gift for spelling restores luster to the family genre. Keke Palmer gives a breakout performance as the title character, whose prodigious talent is nearly deep-sixed by her lack of self-esteem and her harried, widowed mom (Angela Bassett), who dismisses spelling bees as an extracurricular activity they can't afford. Laurence Fishburne plays Akeelah's coach, an academic burnout with a tragic past, and though his theatricality can be distracting, he drives home the story's moral about ambition and self-reliance. Writer-director Doug Atchison exalts teamwork and community to the point of corn—Capra in the hood—but the movie's uplift is undeniable. With Curtis Armstrong, J.R. Villarreal, and Sean Michael Afable.
Official Site: www.akeelahandthebee.com/splash.html
Director: Doug Atchison
Writer: Doug Atchison
Producer: Sidney Ganis, Danny Llewelyn, Michael Romersa, Laurence Fishburne and Nancy Hult Ganis
Cast: Laurence Fishburne, Angela Bassett, Keke Palmer, Jeff Marlow, Sara Niemietz and Eddie Steeples

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