On the small screen, this heavy-handed and slowly paced adaptation of Myla Goldberg’s best-selling novel about a family disintegrating in the shadow of a domineering father still comes across as miscast and too literary for its own good. Despite Gere’s earnest performance as the perfectionist patriarch whose daughter (Flora Cross) becomes a spelling bee champion, the film’s mix of highbrow spiritualism and maudlin sentimentality falls short of emotional resonance. And the occasional gimmicky special effects (floating letters!) are more distracting than illuminating. EXTRAS A six-minute documentary, including cast interviews, serves chiefly as a synopsis of the film. And the handful of underwhelming deleted scenes and two dull, self-satisfied commentaries featuring the film’s producer, screenwriter, and directors Scott McGhee and David Siegel reveal little besides small changes that the filmmakers made to the story (turning Gere’s character from a cantor into a college professor, for instance). C
(Bee Season: Richard Foreman)
Genre: Drama; Starring: Juliette Binoche, Kate Bosworth, Richard Gere; Director: Scott McGehee, David Siegel; Author: Naomi Foner; Runtime (in minutes): 104; MPAA Rating: PG-13; Distributor: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Posted April 4 2006 — 12:00 AM EDT
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