Bee Season

What happens when Eliza Naumann (Flora Cross), 11, gets coached through spelling-bee competitions by her father, Saul, a Kabbalah scholar in the unlikely person of Richard Gere? In the script Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal carves from Myla Goldberg's 2000 best seller, a family's dark secrets are spelled out in capital letters. Wife Miriam (Juliette Binoche) is put off by Saul's aggression. Son Aaron (Max Minghella) gets sucked into a cult by a sexy blonde (Kate Bosworth). And fine directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel (The Deep End) take a detour into mumbo jumbo.

From The Archives Issue 328: October 16, 1980