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Based on 30 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( 1 )
  • 75
    Ruthe Stein San Francisco Chronicle

    Akeelah and the Bee connects where it counts most, on an emotional level. Only a curmudgeon could watch this feisty but vulnerable youngster rack up victories against all odds without tearing up. show more

  • 63
    Claudia Puig USA Today

    You could be cynical about the first movie produced by the coffee colossus Starbucks. But there's nothing cynical about Akeelah's story of courage and determination. show more

  • 75
    Carrie Rickey Philadelphia Inquirer

    In its final act, Akeelah is as exciting as any Final Four matchup. What it may lack in cinematic art it compensates for in abecedarian adrenaline guaranteed to pump the pulse and the spirits of viewers from 10 to 90. show more

  • 75
    Jack Mathews New York Daily News

    I'm not sure how tolerable this would be without Palmer's charm, because this is a formulated script where everything is tied up in perfect bows, just like life isn't. show more

  • 70
    Michael Rechtshaffen The Hollywood Reporter

    Effectively anchoring the picture is Keke Palmer's lovely lead performance as Akeelah Anderson. show more

  • 100
    Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

    Keke Palmer, a young Chicago actress whose first role was as Queen Latifah's niece in "Barbershop 2," becomes an important young star with this movie. It puts her in Dakota Fanning and Thora Cross territory, and there's something about her poise and self-possession that hints she will grow up to be a considerable actress. show more

  • 88
    Wesley Morris Boston Globe

    All the gears, in fact, are shamelessly visible, yet they lock smoothly and resonantly into place. If Akeelah and the Bee is a generic, well-oiled commercial contraption, it is the first to credibly dramatize the plight of a truly gifted, poor black child. show more

  • 75
    Maitland McDonagh TV Guide

    Sentimental, manipulative, predictable and utterly charming. show more

  • 75

    The climactic spelling bee sequence is as tautly written and edited as any gridiron drama, and Palmer's performance here is truly gripping. show more

  • 63
    Chicago Tribune

    Predictable, corny and formulaic...Yet this latest triumph of the spelling-bee spirit, like last year's earnest, flawed film version of "Bee Season," features a film-saving performance where it counts most: from the kid playing the kid with big brain and even bigger heart. show more

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  • The Karate Kid (2010)

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  • Backwards (2012)

  • Snowmen (2010)

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