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Bee Season
Bee Season
Actors: Richard Gere, Juliette Binoche, Flora Cross, Max Minghella, Kate Bosworth
Directors: David Siegel, Scott McGehee
Genres: Drama
PG-13     2006     1hr 44min

Richard Gere stars in this gripping tale about a father obsessed with training his talented daughter for the National Spelling Bee. Eliza Naumann (Flora Cross) demonstrates such an amazing gift for spelling any word given ...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Richard Gere, Juliette Binoche, Flora Cross, Max Minghella, Kate Bosworth
Directors: David Siegel, Scott McGehee
Creators: Albert Berger, Arnon Milchan, Mark Romanek, Mike Topoozian, Myla Goldberg, Naomi Foner
Genres: Drama
Sub-Genres: Religion, Family Life
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 04/04/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2005
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 44min
Screens: Color,Full Screen,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 8
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English, Hebrew, English, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French

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Member Movie Reviews

Teri K. (toribo)
Reviewed on 8/23/2009...
Entire family felt as though we missed half the movie and found it difficult to understand. Characters only 1/2 developed and story line that starts somewhere in themiddle and ends even more confusing. Good movie to watch if you plan to sleep through it.
2 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Duane S. (superpoet) from FORT WORTH, TX
Reviewed on 7/25/2008...
This is the story of a father(Gere) and daughter(Cross) who start on the road towards the National Spelling Bee and how his obsessive involvement with her winning the Spelling Bee changes the entire family. She is a savant when it comes to spelling words; and her dad is convinced she has a God given gift of psychic ability; and wants her to become a mystic in the Jewish Kabala religion. Her mother has a long held secret of kleptomania she has been keeping from the family; and she ends up in a mental institution at the end of the film. The brother becomes a Hindu which angers the father.
4 of 6 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

It's not about spelling. It's about God.
Benjamin | ATLANTA, Gabon | 11/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"On the surface, this looks like it's a movie about spelling, but that's about as accurate as calling "Charlie's Angels" a TV show about law enforcement. "Bee Season," directed by David Siegel and Scott McGehee, is about how four members of a Jewish family individually attempt to "touch" God and how these actions rip them apart and then bring them together. Richard Gere gives a career-high performance as Saul Naumann, the patriarch of the family. Saul's a professor of religion who, through studies of mysticism, attempts to reach God through his achievements and, in some ways, his ego. At the film's opening, he's so preoccupied with his work that he essentially ignores his family. His wife Miriam (Juliette Binoche) feels disconnected from Saul, and her life contains secrets that she doesn't let anyone else know. Their son Aaron, played by Max Minghella, tries to seek out God through alternate religions almost as a way to gain his father's attention. Their 11-year-old daughter Eliza, meanwhile, is a genuine mystic, something that's discovered when she wins her class spelling bee. Everyone else in her family is trying to discover the truth about God, but, to Eliza, God just is. She feels Him and senses Him in everything around her. When she spells, she sees God in the words and suddenly the letters just appear in her mind. Young actress Flora Cross plays Eliza, and her remarkable performance holds the entire film together. The film addresses big philosophical ideas bravely, making points relatable. It takes concepts of faith and translates them visually. And, aside from all that, the film has a compelling, complicated story that's filled with twists and surprises. This movie came and went from theaters with very little buzz, which is a shame. It's one of the most thought-provoking films of the year."
A Complicated Spiritual Journey--Don't Come To The Ambitious
K. Harris | Las Vegas, NV | 11/15/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Surprisingly, "Bee Season" is one of the most difficult films that I have chosen to review. Why? It's an incredibly ambitious, adult and serious piece. And while I don't think, ultimately, that it was wholly a success--I admire it for striving to be great. With so many films choosing to play it safe, it's hard for me to criticize a film that goes out on a limb--for this film asks us to examine language, family, faith, spiritualism, mental illness, and religion. Those looking for an inspirational spelling bee story are in for a surprise as you are asked to spend time with this deeply intelligent and deeply flawed family.

Richard Gere and Juliette Binoche play the parents in what looks to be an idyllic upper middle class family. They play well off one another and are a credible onscreen couple. This is a good role for Binoche, and Gere is positively captivating as a demanding, sometimes inattentive, intellectual. Binoche is haunted by a secret and driven by a force unseen, and her confusion is palpable. Max Minghella, as the son, spends much of the film in intellectual debate with his proud dad. They have the bond of teacher and protege as much as father and son. When the daughter, Flora Cross, displays an uncanny aptitude for spelling--there comes a shift. Suddenly Gere focuses on her success and alienates Minghella.

Everyone is on a mission in "Bee Season," a spiritual journey. Everyone is looking for what will complete them, not realizing that perhaps they already have the answers before them. There are a lot of kaleidoscopic images (a not so subtle metaphor for their fractured lives), and some great visual trickery during the spelling competitions. I admired the way the movie was put together, it is very compelling visually--but the symbolism is layered on a bit thick.

Before things conclude, there are examinations of different faiths including Judaism and a sect of Hare Krisnas. But in the film's most startling moment, we seek to communicate to God himself. I can't remember the last studio film of a serious nature so bold in it's choices. Again, some might see these things as heavy handed or incomprehensible--not everything worked for me. The film's biggest flaw was Binoche's character--with much of her backstory left to the imagination, it's hard to understand why what is happening to her is happening now. She's led a seemingly normal life--and nothing seems to have changed--I wanted a better understanding.

Aspects of "Bee Season" have lingered with me. As you can see, many people loathe this film--with some merit, it has been mismarketed to a certain degree. But for serious thought and contemplation, I recommend the film. It's 3 1/2 stars--there's a lot of ambiguity--but I'm rounding up for sheer ambition. KGHarris, 11/06."
You'll ADORE it or not get it at all...
Katy | Iowa | 05/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"First my bias, this is my favorite film of all time. This should be classified as an intellectual film, and not simply an entertainment-style movie. If you are the type that is interested in mysticism, exploring other religions, intellectual hypocrisy, the way we repair grief and family dysfunction, healing, and forgiveness you will love this. It touches on deep, deep topics and references other films often (the opening sequence is a clear reference to Fellini, for example). If you're not interested, or worse, turned off by these topics, RUN, don't walk the other direction.

On the surface this story is about a 6th grade Jewish girl, Flora, who feels neglected by her father until she begins to win spelling bees. Slowly his focus begins to switch to her, but then other dysfunctions in the family become more apparent. The writers, directors, and actors did and excellent job portraying a depth and breadth of this story. It is not about spelling- it never was.

It is about how we let God flow through us. It is about whether mysticism is truly rare. It is about whether those who teach religion - or even claim it - really understand it or act on it in any sort of heartfelt way. It is about hypocrisy. It is about how the actions or inactions of people can have major consequences to tear us apart or to bring reconciliation. It's about the fragmented nature of a broken world. It's about how we deal with our grief over that world. How our role in that world is to do whatever we can-however small- to help put back together the fragments again. It's about poetry. I highly recommended this film!"