Akeelah and the Bee

Starbucks (considered the evil empire by some) has produced its first movie, Akeelah and the Bee, the story of Akeelah Anderson, an eleven year old from LA who makes her way to Washington, DC for the National Spelling Bee. Akeelah overlays the documentary Spellbound with a powerfully dramatic story of overcoming adversity.

Akeelah, brought to life with poise and grace by young Keke Palmer, reluctantly accepts the challenge of representing her failing school at the district spelling bee. Supported only by her oldest brother who is using the Air Force to get a college education, her principal, and her spelling coach Dr. Larabee (Laurence Fishburne), Akeelah fears that she will become the object of much unwanted attention. With a single mother (Angela Bassett) who is forever working to support her family, a wannabe, self-loathing, gangbanger brother, and a sister who is a teen mother, Akeelah seems the last person with a chance at getting to the National Spelling Bee much less winning.

Akeelah and the Bee is a funny and emotional ride. Writer and director Doug Atchison has created characters who are true to life; each of them wrestles with their own demons and finds in one another the strength to change their lives. In the end, Akeelah's family, school, and neighborhood get behind their new favorite girl.

With an inspirational message that it is possible to overcome great adversity and achieve your dreams, Akeelah and the Bee is the family movie that deserves to be the sleeper hit of the season. Bring you tissues, you'll need them.