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The Secret Life of Bees (2008)

African American Cinema movie directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood

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Good But Left Me Feeling Unsatisfied

  • Mar 17, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+3


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 the film, so I think the overall life of the story translated well to film.

I found some of the characters to be stereotypical and broken down into clear categories...unflappable, strong, backbone of the family, confused and out-of-control teen, angry, bitter man, overtly helpful white guy, angry woman. May Boatwright (Sophie Okonedo) was the most complex character and added much to the story.

And I think the movie moved a little too fast not giving me a chance to really care about the characters. Not that the drama wasn't horrific...it was...a sad and senseless accidental death that left a huge hole in Lily's life (Dakota Fanning), a father who had grown so bitter there wasn't room in his shriveled heart for his daughter, ugly, brutal racism, lives that were shaped and devastated by the choices of others. The subject matter was hard and awful. This film should've sucker punched me. I'm a crier. I cry at happy, sad and poignant scenes in many movies. Even commercials have brought me to tears, yet I didn't cry during the Secret Life of Bees, and I only teared up once.

In many ways the film is well done. The setting is rich, the cast of actors do a fabulous job portraying the characters shaped by tragedy and pain. It just didn't resonate with me.

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More The Secret Life of Bees (2008 ... reviews
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 …
About the reviewer
Kelly Klepfer ()
Ranked #56
Member Since: Feb 11, 2009
Last Login: Jun 8, 2012 02:25 AM UTC
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Wiki

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 ...
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Details

Genre: African American Cinema
DVD Release Date: February 3, 2009
Runtime: 110 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox
First to Review
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