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 recorded perfectly. This film is very much about dialog, so it had to be crystal clear and the director delivered. Use of surround sound was held to a minimum, there isn't the enveloping sound we've come to expect. Each shot was spot on in focus and perfectly exposed. There was only one moment where the camera moved in a random not deliberate fashion - a scene of Lilly laying on the ground viewed from a camera in a tree. Otherwise, the camera work was excellent.
Pacing was a tiny bit slow, especially at the difficult half way point. The film didn't develop a lot of rise and fall rythmn in the editing, it kept a pretty consistent speed throughout. This could be an anomoly of the director's cut.
This is one of the better transfers to DVD, no compression artifacts visible. The print was a spotless one used for the transfer. There are several special features, deleted scenes, making of, converting the book to film, and a few others. Sorry, after watching the director's cut, I just did not wish to ruin the taste of this film with the bonus features.
The music soundtrack is just spectacular. This is music worth listening to outside of the film. Alicia Keys, need I say more?
These really are incredible women. They are the story in essence, so the fact that the men are so awful really doesn't make this an anti-male film. On the contrary.
Fine performances by all the actresses. Alicia Keys was a surprise for me, I had no idea she was in this film before watching. Dakota Fanning is making that beautiful turn from being a bratty child star to a real live serious actress. This film shows that Dakota may actually have a career after all. Queen Latifah and Jennifer Hudson, need you say more?
Sorry, I can't comment on the conversion from the novel, I haven't read it. As a film without the book, this is a very good film, well worth watching.
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 … more
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 … more
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 … more
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 ...