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(2006), PG [PG*] (1hr 44min)

Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
April 30, 2006
79 out of 100

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2006), PG [PG*] -- is truly equivalent to the PG movies...

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Spelling Bee Productions Inc., 2929 Productions, Cinema Gypsy Productions, Lions Gate Films, Out of the Blue... Entertainment, Reactor Films, Starbucks Entertainment
Distribution (US): Lions Gate Films
Director(s): Doug Atchison
Producer(s): Jaki Brown, Marc Butan, Mark Cuban, Laurence Fishburne, Sidney Ganis, Nancy Hult, Kent Kubena, Daniel Llewelyn, Michael Paseornek, Michael Romersa, Helen Sugland, Mike Upton, Todd Wagner
Written by: Doug Atchison
Cinematography/Camera: David Mullen, M. David Mullen
Music: Aaron Zigman
Film Editing: Glenn Farr
Casting: Jaki Brown, Kim Coleman, Aisha Coley
Production Design: Warren Alan Young
Art Direction: Shelley A. Wallace
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6

Akeelah and the Bee is a rather warm, moving and touching film with a lot of good things to say in useful ways, but with a few "misspellings." Notorious "bad guy" (and producer) Lawrence Fishburne III is a softy as UCLA English professor, Dr. Joshua Larabee, thus revealing the expanse of Fishburne's thespian talents -- a long way from Morpheus in The Matrix films (The Matrix , Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions ).

While the morality envelope or effect of Akeelah and the Bee is truly equivalent to the PG movies in the comparative baseline database of films, it is rife with matters of Impudence/Hate. Thus is revealed one of the more useful features of the CAP Analysis Model, visible by noting the CAP thermometers and discussed below.

The Wanton Violence/Crime (W) investigation area found bullying and tormenting in Akeelah and the Bee, causing the Wanton Violence/Crime investigation area score to lose 6 points out of 100, indicating the film content revealed by the Wanton Violence/Crime investigation area was still fully equivalent to the G-rated films in the comparative baseline database of films.

The Sexual Immorality (S), Offense to God (O) and Murder/Suicide (M) investigation areas found no assaults on morality and decency. The film earned the best possible score of 100 in each investigation area, each finding programming fully equivalent to G-rated films in the comparative baseline database.

Drugs/Alcohol (D) found drunkenness, smoking and drinking, giving the film a Drugs/Alcohol investigation area score equivalent to PG films in the comparative baseline database. [Eph. 5:18]

But Impudence/Hate (I) found enough assaults on morality and ethics to drag this investigation area score down to zero. That means in comparison to the films in the baseline database, the Impudence/Hate investigation area score for Akeelah and the Bee is equivalent to some R-rated films. Such a low score is due to the multiple uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary [Col. 3:8], mostly by adolescents [Luke 17:2], lying [Rev. 21:8], abusive parenting [Eph. 6:44], adolescent disrespect of fair and responsible authority [Exod. 20:12, Eph. 6:1 - 3, Col. 3:20., Heb. 13:17] and a comparatively lengthy list of other matters of impudence shown in the listing of findings in the Findings/Scoring section.

The father (Wolfgang Bodison) of 11 year old Akeelah Anderson (Keke Palmer) of the Crenshaw District of Los Angeles left his imprint on Akeelah. He was big with words. And so is Akeelah.

The first to notice something special in Akeelah is one of her teachers, Mrs. Cross (Dalia Phillips). After some, for the lack of a better expression, extortion by the school principal, Mr. Welch (Curtis Armstrong) and unbeknownst to her hospital worker worry-worn and widowed mother, Tanya (Angela Bassett), Akeelah agrees to participate in the middle school's first ever spelling bee.

Winning the school's bee hands-down, Dr. Larabee notices the talent and the potential. Dr. Larabee grills Akeelah after she wins the school bee with words clearly above the 6th grade level. Realizing that with some training Akeelah could easily earn a place on the stage of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC. Dr. Larabee's daughter Denise died at age nine. As Akeelah's mentor, Dr. Larabee finds Akeelah to be someone to soothe a little of the anguish.

Akeelah is shunned by many of her classmates, but soon one of the students of another school, Javier Mendez (J.R. Villarreal) whom she met at a regional bee who also won a seat at the National Bee, befriends Akeelah and even sparks a little puppy love romance. Best of all, Javier is self-sacrificing and is there for Akeelah to the end.

Another LA kid who won a seat at the National Bee is Dylan Chiu (Sean Michael). Dylan's father (Tzi Ma) is as mean and contemptible as Dylan, both bent on winning. Nothing but winning. Dylan has been second place in each of the two previous Nationals and daddy with his Marine drill instructor approach is not about to settle for second place this year. But maybe Dylan's heart is not so calloused after all?

Akeelah's biggest enemy through it all is ... her mother. What can spelling get you? Will it put food on the table? This is the position Tanya [initially] takes about her daughter taking so much time to train for the National Bee.

While Akeelah and the Bee is a well-written but formulaic story with some truly tear-jerking moments and portrayals of self-sacrifice and integrity in the young, please real carefully the listing in the Findings/Scoring section to maybe help you be in a better position to make an informed moral decision on your own whether this film is fit for your little ones.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. ["Wine" can be any intoxicating substance including illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs. This issue is do not get intoxicated. Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk OR to influence to get drunk or to drink in defiance such as underage drinking. A study by the American College of Physicians (ACP) has found an undeniable link between the presentation of alcoholic beverages and tobacco in and as entertainment and abuse of them and arrogance/defiance with them by adolescents. And teaching/causing youth to abuse alcohol/tobacco (or drugs) by emboldening youth with them in and as entertainment invokes Luke 17:2. If alcoholic beverages in entertainment were not a problem for our young, why is there and why has there been such a push to get and keep booze commercials off prime time broadcast TV? Even the University of Connecticut corroborates the ACP finding.Col. 3:8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
  • Rev. 21:8 But the [unforgiven] fearful [deilos {di-los'}; timid, cowardly], and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. [I know this might seem to be a rather harsh verse to apply to children's entertainment, but God is serious about lying ... and liars. Including and especially the ones who teach and/or cause children to lie.]
  • Eph. 6:4 And, ye fathers [and mothers], provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. [Note that "wrath" is not simple anger.]
  • Exod. 20:12 Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
  • Eph. 6:1 - 3 CHILDREN, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and thy mother, which is the first commandment with promise.
  • Col. 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
  • Heb. 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you [fair *and* responsible authority, properly appointed], and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account [report to God], that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    Akeelah and the Bee (2006) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • bully assault
  • tormenting

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • 9 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary, six of them by adolescents
  • skipping classes
  • extortion by the school principal to force participation in a school event
  • adolescent arrogance toward fair and responsible authority, repeatedly
  • parental cheating
  • lies by adolescents, repeatedly
  • abrasive parenting, repeatedly
  • deception of mother, repeatedly
  • racism
  • brother brutality toward sister

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • none noted

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • drinking
  • drunkenness
  • smoking

    Offense to God (O)
  • none noted

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • none noted

  • Christian Educators Association International



    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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