“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
Sometimes we are too scared too find out how many potentials that we might have within us. Especially if other people around us are not showing their best potentials and expecting us to be just like them. We are afraid to be different, to have any expectations of ourselves. Akeelah Anderson (Keke Palmer) is facing this kind of situation in her life.
This eleven year old girl, lives with her older brother Devon (Lee Thompson Young) who is away for his job as a pilot, older sister Kiana (Erica Hubbard) who is a single mother with one child, older brother Terrence (Julito McCullum) who is rarely home, and a single parent mother Tanya (Angela Basset) who is too busy make a living for their family and taking care of their problems to pay attention to Akeelah’s gift and aspiration in spelling. Her father, who used to love words and inherited this to Akeelah, had passed away when she was six years old.
Living in working class community in South Los Angeles and going to Crenshaw Middle School, which is terribly poor in facilities and motivation, creates ignorance for Akeelah to do anything special in her school and life. She just doesn’t see the point and in the place where being smart is not so cool, she thinks that the best way to get by is to blend in with others.
Despite of her behavior in skipping classes and missing homework, apparently she still have perfect scores in spelling. Her class teacher sees this and tells the principal about it.
Principal Welch, has been waiting for something good to appear in his school. He believes that the students have potentials and Akeelah, realize it or not, is one of them that has been showing it. So he asks Akeelah to try out for the process of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, starting with the Crenshaw Spelling Bee which she finally does for the exchange of the detention she will have for skipping classes.
In the journey to the national competition, Akeelah, with the help of her spelling coach, Dr. Joshua Larabee (Laurence Fishburne), her family and friends, and the entire neighborhood, has found more courage and confident to embrace herself and her potentials. Her journey have bring lots of hope, not just for herself and her family, but also the community she lives in. It’s so uplifting to see how everyone become one, cooperating in helping Akeelah to become a winner in the national competition.
The 2006 Hollywood movie, written and directed by Doug Atchison, is giving us this inspiration to not be afraid of ourselves, to be different, to be honest, to believe in ourselves, to show all great things inside us to the world, not just for ourselves but also to encourage others to do the same.
One last word for this movie: A-W-E-S-O-M-E
Enjoy the trailer