The Secret Life of BeesBuzzworthy. Sorry, couldn't resist.
Gina Prince-Bythewood's latest film, "The Secret Life of Bees," is an
adaptation of Sue Monk Kidd's highly praised Civil Rights-era novel and
features a powerhouse female-centric cast.
Set in South Carolina
in 1964, "The Secret Life of Bees" is the heart-affecting story of Lily
Owens (Dakota Fanning), a 14 year-old girl who is haunted by the memory
of her dead mother. To escape her isolated life and abusive father
(Paul Bettany), Lily flees with caregiver and only friend Rosaleen
(Jennifer Hudson) to a small South Carolina town in search of clues
about her mother's past.
Upon arriving in town, the two find
sanctuary in a big Pepto-Bismol-pink house belonging to entrepreneur
bee farmer August Boatwright (Queen Latifah) and her two sisters--the
self-reliant June (Alicia Keys) and the delicate, childlike May (Sophie
Okonedo). Rosaleen helps May with the cooking and household tasks, and
Lily is recruited into the mesmerizing world of beekeeping, where she
learns the art of making honey.
Prince-Bythewood, who wrote and
directed the 2000 film "Love and Basketball," presents a solid piece of
work that thrives off of commanding performances. Dakota Fanning seems
destined to avoid that awkward phase every child actor encounters in
his or her career. She continues to make smart choices in the roles she
plays and it's only a matter of time until Fanning is thanking the
Having previously been nominated for an Oscar for her
role opposite Don Cheadle in "Hotel Rwanda," Sophie Okonedo's achingly
touching role in "The Secret Life of Bees" may generate enough buzz to
garner a second nomination. Alicia Keys proves to be as striking and
commanding on screen as she is behind a piano, and Queen Latifah
delivers as a soulful, nurturing spirit that finally makes Lily feel
"The Secret Life of Bees" is a touching film that earns
its tears and heartfelt sentiment honestly. The performances elicit
real emotion, and though some elements of the script travel through
well-worn territory, it's an entertaining and affecting work. Those
looking for award-winning cinematography or brilliant direction will
probably find this film underwhelming and a little on the sappy side.
While that honey-dipped sweetness might leave some art snobs
disappointed, others will find "The Secret Life of Bees" is rich in
heart and love.