Bee Season

Rated 3.0

An 11-year-old girl (Flora Cross) immerses herself in spelling bees as a refuge from her dysfunctional family: an obsessive, perfectionist father (Richard Gere); a mother (Juliette Binoche) who seems quietly to be losing her mind; and a brother (Max Minghella) who compulsively dabbles in faddish religions. Writer Naomi Foner and directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel adapt Myla Goldberg’s novel with ostentatious care and sensitivity, using computer-generated surrealistic images to impart visual panache to the spelling-bee sequences (it’s not the most exciting of spectator sports). The excellent cast gives fine performances, and the movie has talent and intelligence to spare, but McGehee, Siegel and Foner can’t dispel the suspicion that this family is an unsympathetic group of self-absorbed losers.