10. Spellbound (2002)
If you thought spelling bees were boring then this film is about to change your mind. This documentary follows 8 young kids (from a wide range of backgrounds and lifestyles) as they compete in the 1999 Scripps National Spelling Bee. The film showcases the pressures experienced by these brilliant children, and will have you on the edge of your seat, admiring their skill and their determination. As A. O. Scott said in the NY Times review in 2003, “what strikes you most about these spellers–and which makes ”Spellbound” a work of art rather than a piece of sociology—is less the diversity they undeniably represent than their irrepressible, precious individuality.” You’ll be rooting for these kids, and you’ll look at your own kids (and all kids) in a very different way.