Documentary about the US National Spelling Bee. Follows eight kids aged 10-14 from the regional rounds through to the nationally televised championship in Washington D.C. A great way to reflect the diversity of American life: from Angela in Texas, whose parents came to America from Mexico 20 years ago, and whose dad still can't speak English; to April DeGideo from Pennsylvania, who studied her words for up to nine hours a day during the summer; to Neil from California, whose dad paid for 1,000 people to pray for him back home in India.
I usually hate kids, but these ones have started to change my mind. They're all very bright, quite quirky, a little geeky, but in a good way. It's not really all about the winning: Ithaca is all about the journey there: what skills and coping strategies you learn on the way. Spelling is just the end result. The kids learn how to study, how to be independent, how to come to terms with disappointment. A very uplifting movie.
The DVD itself is great: you get the bonus of an Epilogue, which fills you in on "where they are now"; and there are three deleted scenes of kids who didn't make it into the final cut of the movie. Some of these are the best: such as Bradley, who has a crush on his spelling tutor, or Cody, who has a cool philosophy on life and a great little sarcastic attitude.
Nugget: geeks have more fun. I should know.