This film is absolutely one of the best all [pretty much] female cast movies I have seen in a while. I remember seeing the trailers for this and thinking "YEAH another flick with the great Queen Latifah", and it didn't hurt that Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, and Sophie Okonedo were in since they have been great actors in every other film they appeared in. The only thing I was worried about was Dakota Fanning, since most child stars can't bring the same confidence and talent to the game like they once did when trying to make it into young adult roles. Still I did not doubt her and was kinda excited to see if she could pull it, I am happy to say that she was just as good as the great women who were cast in this film as well.
The story is centered around a young 14 year old girl named Lily Owens [Fanning] along with her friend and family employee Rosaleen Daise [Hudson] on a journey to find a place her deceased mother once lived. They set out on this journey after Rosaleen is beat by a group of white men who still have it in their minds to kill her in her while even in the hospital. Lily is a determined yet broken girl who is internally dieing by the fact that her mother left her as young girl, although we find out later there is much more to the story. Her dad is an abusive man who seems to not care about his daughter at all, the grits thing is horrible. Upon finding this place she meets the residents who are three wonderful but very different sisters [Latifah, Keys, and Okonedo] who run and operate a honey business out of their home. They are welcomed by two of the three [although she comes around] and begin to not only live with them but work there as well. It is here that the films true beauty truly takes place as these women young and old all come together and form a bond that transcends age, social status, and race.
Films such as this have always been favorites of mine, this, Fried Green Tomatoes and such, maybe it is the time period they are based in or maybe it is just the wonderful stories of the human spirit [good and bad], but I am a fan. Producers Will and Jada Pinkett Smith have chosen a wonderful book to adapt to film, the novel is by Sue Monk Kidd for those wanting to read the source material. Director Gina Prince-Bythewood did a marvelous job converting the book into a feature film, the dialogue was great and the characters were magnificent. Some may say the film is slow at times but I thought it moved at a great pace and the character development was superb.
As far as performances go Queen Latifah as August Boatwright the matriarch of the family and household should have been up for an Oscar for this one, much like she should have in the past for many others. She played August as a strong proud woman unafraid of a cold world outside, but you could tell she was strong for her sisters since a fourth had passed. On the flip side is June Boatwright played excellently by Alicia Keys who is a woman who on the outside is strong but really it's only a front to keep the world outside at bay, this is evident by the way she treats her would be fiancée. Keys is wonderful in this part a comes across as mean spirited in moments when she should but by the end makes a natural transition into an excepting kind hearted warm gentle person. The other sister May Boatwright played so extremely good by Sophie Okonedo has a little something wrong with her and is struggling to accept her sister being dead. If fact if anything goes wrong she begins to break down and can only find comfort in the form of writing, she puts these thoughts she jots down in and on a rock wall out in their yard. Sophie is amazing in this part that seemed she was destined to play, this is just one more to the many great female performances in this film.
Jennifer Hudson much like the others is brilliant in this film as the down and out Rosaleen Daise who is recovering from a brutal beating and a long journey only to end up with people she does not know. Hudson once again proves why she really is one of the most talented actresses in the game and also proves to the nay sayers that the Oscar she won [Dream Girls] was not a fluke as some said. And then there is Dakota Fanning as the emotionally unstable Lily Owens, I must say that Fanning was excellent in this role and played it perfectly. I really think she is here to stay and is the next big female leading lady once she gets out of her teens. Until then though I am sure she will be the lead in all of next generation teen comedies and dramas for that age range. This movie is full of magnificent female characters and performers to help craft them.
At first glance one might pass on this saying it is just a chick flick or whatever but I must say that would be a mistake. If you miss out on this one you are missing out on some of the greatest cinematic performances ever, not to mention it was shot beautifully and has a wonderful soundtrack. From interesting characters to a great story all can be found here, and on a side note everyone else who was in this film did great jobs as well. Especially Paul Bettany who played Lilly's dad T. Ray Owens, his character was not the nicest guy ever.
At first glance one might pass on this saying it is just a chick flick or whatever but I must say that would be a mistake. If you miss out on this one you are missing out on some of the greatest cinematic performances ever, not to mention it was shot beautifully and has a wonderful soundtrack. From interesting characters to a great story all can be found here
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