In the film Akeelah and the Bee
, a young inner-city girl is a child genius, much like these real-life whiz kids
. The breakout star of the movie is 12-year-old Keke Palmer who plays the title role. As the movie opens, Akeelah spends her time trying to hide her intelligence from her friends in her tough Los Angeles neighborhood.
When a retired professor, played by Academy Award®-nominated actor Laurence Fishburne, sees her win her school's spelling bee, he takes her under his wing to coach her—for the National Spelling Bee. Akeelah's mom, played by Academy Award®-nominated actress Angela Bassett, is a widow struggling to raise four children. She's a woman who doesn't seem to have time for spelling bees.
During the course of the film, Akeelah gets all the way to the National Spelling Bee and carries the hopes and dreams of her community with her.
"Critics predict it will become the sleeper hit of the year. I'm not a critic, but I predict that, too," Oprah says. "This is the movie you want your kids to see."