Rated 4.0 Being smart, studying hard and maintaining composure under extreme pressure are important, but they’re not the only elements that go into winning a national spelling-bee championship. Sheer luck of the draw is a determining factor, too, as kids march regiments of consonants and vowels over their lips letter by letter while judges, family, friends, strangers and—in recent years—an ESPN crew and home audience watch and listen. Jeffrey Blitz’s gripping, enchanting documentary takes us deep behind the scenes of the 1999 Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee championship in Washington, D.C., as we follow eight students from regional competitions, involving about 9 million kids, to the two-day nationals showdown, where 248 finalists will misspell a word. Blitz focuses on the personal drive and achievement of these youngsters and searches for lasting substance in elusive glory.