Friday, September 22, 2006

Run, don't walk, to Blockbuster (or your Netflix que)

It's 10:35 pm on Friday night and I have about an hour of prep left before an evangelism training at Elon University tomorrow. But instead I am blogging, because Diane and I just watched a movie that I hope everyone who reads this will see if they have not. It's called "Akeelah and the Bee", and I can't tell you how much we enjoyed it. When I saw it advertised in Starbucks, I thought it was a cartoon about a bee and some Dora-the-Explorer-like girl, and even if I had read the fine print and learned it was about a spelling bee, I might have taken a pass. But this movie is about much more than simply the story of a girl who goes to the national spelling bee, because Akeelah happens to live in the Crenshaw section of LA, attending a school where they can't afford to put doors on the bathroom stalls. Her mom is struggling to keep her family together and in line, and Akeelah is a brilliant 11-year-old struggling between the goal of fitting in and blending in at her middle school, and the desire to win a national spelling competition.

So much of this movie resonated with us just from our experiences with kids and families here in Glenwood (which is certainly not Crenshaw, but many issues are the same), and what made my heart really sing is it spoke again a hopeful message that one at a time, people and families can be transformed. The layers and layers of her family and history are so neat to see as well - on first glance, you would see single mom, gang-banger son, daughter with a baby and no dad around, and you would just discount them. But as you learn more, their story and struggle is so much more complex. And this movie portrays community as so vital to the success of its members, which really excited and inspired me.

Even if you don't live in a neighborhood like Akeelah's (or Glenwood), you will be inspired by this story and entertained as well. Check it out.


suz said...

I agree with Marshal that this film is worth seeing. We brought middle and highschool girls to from glenwood to see it one night after dance. It was funny to listen to their "Amens" and "You say it sister" when Akeela was talking to the 'adults' at the school, explaining that she was not sure if she wanted to represent her school...b/c what was there to represent (bathrooms with out doors on the stalls). It was a reflection on how our g-girls feel about their middle school, and how a community can link arms and encourage kids to suceed!

Burly said...

quick note:responded to you on my blog ...