Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Secret Life of Bees (2008) PG13 - 4 Stars

Excellent casting with Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, and Sophoe Okonedo. Dakota Fanning is sure growing up fast and still such a great little actress in this warm hearted story of a young girl taken in, and taught love, by an African American family for bee farmers. A nice refreshing tale of simplicity and love.

Lily Owens (Dakota Fanning) is a 14 year girl growing in South Carolina in 1964, with a gaping hole in her heart. When she was only 4, she accidentally shot her mother. A tragic pain she must live with but she's desperate to learn and remember anything about her. Miss Rosaleen Daise (Jennifer Hudson) is the African American housekeeper for Lily and her father and the only good friend Lily has in her life. Her father, T. Ray Owens (Paul Bettany), has resented Lily for the last 10 years and still blames her for her mothers death. He has a jealous envy of Lily, as her mother returned home that fateful day, only to retrieve her child leaving her husband behind. He's distant, not affectionate and can not communicate with her daughter and for punishment, forces her to kneel on grits till her knees bleed.

As Lily and Rosaleen were walking to town on day, so Rosaleen could register to vote, a group of angry old white men, harass and push Rosaleen for trying to get through. When she refuses to apologises for writing her name on one man's shoes when her called her a "dumb nigger", she was beaten and taken away to jail. T. Ray is furious with Lily for becoming involved, and tells her she was never wanted by her mother. With a deep anger, she packs a few things and heads to the hospital ward jail and frees her friend. The two set out on a journey to find a better place to live. With no clear sight in mind, they head towards a place Lily senses from seeing a photo of her mother and reading the back.

Their first night found them sleeping in the woods and awakening in a new city to find an image on a label of honey that lands them at the doorsteps of the home of the Boatwright sisters, May (Sophie Okonedo), June (Alicia Keys), and August (Queen Latifah). Though May and August warmly open their arms to the girls, June doesn't trust nor want the little white child. She fears Lily has also brought with her trouble to their door. As August trains Lily in the art of collecting honey from the bees, the Boatwrights soon learn their family has grown by two more.

2008 - The Secret Life of Bees - Phoenix Film Critics Association - Best Performance By a Youth - Female
2008 - The Secret Life of Bees - Women Film Critics Circle - Best Female Images in a Movie

Fox Searchlight Pictures
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Writer: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Producers: Will Smith, Jack Leslie, Joe Pichirallo
I viewed 2/09

1 comment:

suZen said...

I really liked this book - hope that the movie is as good - did you happen to read it? I'm often disappointed in a film if I've already read the book - seems like I should read the book AFTER the movie?