Bee Season review

In a curious flash of stunt-casting, Richard Gere plays Saul, a Jewish Religious Studies prof who begins to believe the extraordinary spelling skills of his young daughter (Flora Cross) means she has the mystical power to receive God's word. Meanwhile, Saul's marriage to the girl's mother (Juliette Binoche) continues to deteriorate and her teenage brother (Max Minghella) secretly joins a Hare Krishna group.

Co-directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel (The Deep End), Bee Season uses a framework of spelling competitions to examine broader themes: the difficulties of emotional communication within families, the pressures parents place on their children, the individual's search for transcendence... Dramatically, though, it's an overly ambitious, cluttered affair and Binoche is badly let down by her sketchily drawn character.

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