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Headed by an all-star cast of women,The Secret Life of Beesis the heartwarming and well-told story of a young girl who finds love and acceptance from a trio of independent sisters.The Secret Life of Beesis based on the bestselling book of the same name by Sue Monk Kidd and centers around the plight of 14-year-old Lily (Dakota Fanning). Assuming the burden for her mother's premature death, she has a precarious relationship with her abusive father T. Ray (Paul Bettany). Lily's only friend is her caregiver Rosaleen (Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson). Set in South Carolina in 1964, when civil rights wasn't a given, Rosaleen's life is threatened by racists who'd just as soon see her dead than exercise her right to vote. Lily runs away with her to a town she believes may hold the secrets of her mother's life. There the pair meet the Boatwright sisters August (Queen Latifah), June (Alicia Keys) and May (Sophie Okonedo)--who produce the area's famous Black Madonna honey. They eventually provide Lily with the unconditional love she never felt she had and also show Rosaleen that being a black woman in the South doesn't mean she can't have a sense of worth.The Secret Life of Beesdoesn't try to pass itself off as a historical documentation of race relations in the 1960s. But the fictional slice of life still resonates because of the feelings of injustice that it stirs up. Though the film is written to show the disparity between blacks and whites, there is always a strong sense of hope, thanks to the lead actresses who bring empathy and dignity to their roles. Hudson exhibits some of the same quiet grace that Regina Taylor brought to her role as the family housekeeper in the superb TV seriesI'll Fly Away. Latifah has the part of wise matriarch down pat, even when she's playing a sister rather than a mother. And it's clear that Fanning is making a seamless transition from kid to young adult roles. Whether she's giving an impassioned monologue or listening thoughtfully, Fanning brings nuance and intelligence to her role.--Jae-Ha Kim



Stills from The Secret Life of Bees (Click for larger image)    

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CastJennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Queen Latifah, Sophie Okonedo, Dakota Fanning
DirectorGina Prince-Bythewood
Genre:  African American Cinema
Screen WriterGina Prince-Bythewood, Sue Monk Kidd
DVD Release Date:  February 3, 2009
Runtime:  110 minutes
Studio:  20th Century Fox
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review by . March 17, 2009
     I didn't love this movie. That makes me a little sad because I really love Queen Latifah and was looking forward to a rich story experience. Having just made the statement that I didn't love it, I'll try to share why I didn't. I haven't read the complete novel. I began it and was intrigued and caught up, but had borrowed it and needed to return it. Now that I own it, I just haven't gone back to pick up the story beyond page seventy. The seventy pages I read seemed to mirror …
review by . March 13, 2009
I didn't love this movie. That makes me a little sad because I really love Queen Latifah and was looking forward to a rich story experience. Having just made the statement that I didn't love it, I'll try to share why I didn't. I haven't read the complete novel. I began it and was intrigued and caught up, but had borrowed it and needed to return it. Now that I own it, I just haven't gone back to pick up the story beyond page seventy. The seventy pages I read seemed to mirror what I experienced in …
review by . February 04, 2009
Beautiful, yet soul-wrenching, 'The Secret Life of Bees,' is an absorbing trek through the Southern life of Lily (Dakota Fanning), a girl who's haunted by her mother's death. Running away from her abusive father (Paul Bettany) with her housekeeper (Jennifer Hudson) she finds her mother's old caretaker (Queen Latifah), a beekeeper whose family musters enough love for them while sorting out the wounds in their own pasts.     Absorbing is an overused word, but it fits perfectly …
review by . February 03, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
What a wonderful film. The women in this film are amazing, strong, intelligent, loving, gorgeous. The men in this film, aside from two men, are exactly the opposite. And there is the conflict. It's a story told more or less in flashback from Lilly's (Dakota Fanning) perspective. There are two versions available on the DVD, the theatrical and the editor's version. For this review I chose the extended editor's version - nearly 2 hours.    Technically, a very fine film. Dialog was …
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