Spellbound
Bee Season
Review Review by Ross Anthony

It's a supernatural thriller with an eerie edge that teeters precariously -- some moments warm, others disturbing. But, it's directed and acted so well, and really written to find the common family, that it feels very possible. The film succeeds at making us believe that a child can sense the spelling of a word, that the word will come to life behind her closed eyes and spell itself. Dandelion seeds float, drift around her head, chaise one after the other to form the letters of their English name.

Gere gives a good performance, but he's almost too likeable to make the whole piece really work. Still, the young performers, Flora Cross as the spelling bee wiz, but especially Max Minghella as her older brother, are so good, they make the story work despite other minor flaws.

The cinematography, direction and editing all conspire as well to bring us into the mood of each character, especially Juliette Binoche (as mom) as she dips from one frame of mind to another.

Despite being somewhat disjointed, I liked it overall. It's thought provoking and tense, with a sweet lovingness behind the tension. And though the sendoff is also sweetly subtle, I could have used just a tad more oomph or duration there.

This film screened at a Laemmle Theatre.


  • Bee Season. Copyright © 2005.
  • Starring Richard Gere, Juliette Binoche, Flora Cross, Max Minghella.
  • Directed by Scott McGehee, David Siegel.
  • Screenplay by Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal. Based on the novel by Myla Goldberg.
  • Produced by Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa at Fox Searchlight/Regency Enterprises/Bona Fide.

Grade..........................B+ (2.5/4)

Copyright © 1998-2016 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Check out his other sites too: Author*Illustrator*Speaker, Motobookothon 2009, M9, Write Triangle, TwT. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:18:56 PDT