Rated NR

Flora Cross is impressive as Eliza, an 11-year-old girl blessed with the ability to spell. As she rises through the ranks of regional spelling championships, and her father (Richard Gere) starts spending more time with her, the home life goes into disarray. Directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel have made a movie that tries to go deeper than the usual child-protégé-under-pressure stuff. Some of the plotlines (including a rather routine one involving a neglected son rebelling against his dad) are unneeded, but I liked the way the movie didn’t go out of its way to explain everything that happens within it. Juliette Binoche is very good as a mother who has been harboring a lot of pain and troubles, and Gere delivers nice work as a dad who is too interested in himself and his own accomplishments to notice the problems brewing around him. Not a great movie, but it has great moments.


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