Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Secret Life of Bee's Movie Review

My mother in law had the wonderful suggestion last night that my mother and I join her for a ladies night out to take in a movie. She had a movie in mind, The Secret Life of Bee's. "T" (my MIL) had read the book and told me that she thought I would love both the book and the movie. I have a tremendous love for southern set novels and movie's. This one was dead on.
The adaptation of Sue Monk Kidd's novel ,"The Secret Life of Bees", stars Dakota Fanning as Lily, a fourteen-year-old growing up in a small southern town in 1964. She is haunted by memories of shooting & killing her mother when she was a toddler. She's been told her whole life that she killed her mother when she was 4. Lily lives with her emotionally distant and sometime violent father, played by Paul Bettany in a haunting performance.
Lily's best and only friend is their African-American housekeeper (Jennifer Hudson)RosaLeen. On the day the Civil Rights Act is signed into law, she accompanies Rosaleen into town so Rosaleen can register to vote. After local townfolks (who happen to be down right racist people) beat Rosaleen for attempting to register as a voter, and Lily's Dad has one to many violent arguments and emotional disconnects with Lily, she and the housekeeper set out to find the place written on the back of an image of a black Madonna among her mother's things. . That place turns out to be the home of the independent Boatwright sisters, a trio - Queen Latifah, Sophie Okonedo, and Alicia Keys - who make a living producing honey.
There life is one of which was not the norm in the 60's. African American women living in a well to do house running a successful business. It's a home that is idyllic and self-sufficient and hidden from the world. It is a place that Lily says she needs to be...and will decide why after moving in with them. Lily soon learns about beekeeping, the black Madonna, life, hardship, struggle, and the power of freedom, strength and acceptance.

I was blown away at the performances of the ensemble cast. Each was expansive, convincing, inspirational and positively poetic in both the life in the 60's and the gut wrenching scenes. I was impressed at Fannings scenes which her well seasoned so early acting skills shined.

Of note is that the executive producer of the film was Jada Pinkett Smith and the producer Will Smith.
My MIL was right, I LOVED the film. LOVED. It was one of the best movies I have seen in some time. So good, the book was bought on my way home.
Bring a box of tissues. You will need them.

The Secret Life of Bees
Opened October 17, 2008 Runtime:1 hr. 50 min.
thematic material and some violence
Haunted by memories of her late mother, 14-year-old Lily Owens (Dakota Fanning) runs away with her friend and caregiver Rosaleen (Jennifer Hudson) to the South Carolina town that holds the key to her mother's past. There, Lily meets the Boatwright sisters (Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys, Sophie Okonedo), who take her in and teach her about beekeeping, honey and the Black Madonna.
Dakota Fanning - Lily Owens
Jennifer Hudson - Rosaleen Daise
Queen Latifah - August Boatwright
Sophie Okonedo - May Boatwright
Alicia Keys - June Boatwright
Paul Bettany - T. Ray Owens
Tristan Wilds - Zachary Taylor
Hilarie Burton - Deborah Owens
Nate Parker - Neil
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Genres: Period Film, Drama, Coming-of-Age


Kirby3131 said...

When I read "Bring a box of tissues. You will need them." My eyes shot out tears! I guess it was suggestive selling. lol

I have been curious about that movie - Thanks for the review!

"J" said...

Wow! I can't wait to see this movie!!!! =)

I think I will wait till it comes out on DVD! I hate being in the movies with tears!!! lol

Leigh said...

Kirby and J- you will need the kleenex. This is hte kind of movie that I love. Great message in it. Lots to learn from it. And J....I will watch it again and at home. I will be buying it when it comes out. I had a big ole ugly cry festered up in the theater and no, didnt want to let it loose in there amongt people...they might have brought out the white coats. Ya know?
I highly recommend seeing this film.

5 stars

Kirby3131 said...

Tom and I haven't gone to a movie theater since before his transplant -- so 2005. I'm gonna have to start getting Netflix or something lol

giants fan said...

i want to see this!!! as soon as I find time....

MIL said...

I'll give you the book on our staycation, Leigh~

For those who have already read the book, the movie is true to the novel.


nancygrayce said...

I've been waiting for this movie. Read the book and loved it!

Anonymous said...

Thank you "T" for inviting me to view this wonderful and sweet movie, with you and Leigh. Every character was so very good with their performance. It took me back to this period of time that I remember oh so well....1964. I was 17 yrs old. Thanks, again!!

Jenny G said...

Your review is dead on! I enjoyed a girls night out last week with my SIL to this movie and LOVE, LOVE, LOVED it!!! Every woman should go see it and appreciate the group of women she has in her life!!!!

catinanapron said...

i cried all the way through this book! it was SOOO good. i think it has made me a better mother - thinking of the ache that little girl had for her lost mother. The part she would fill up her mothers gloves with tissue just to experience holding her hand - OH!! i try to remember how special every little thing is to my kids... i probably won't be able to see the movie until it comes out on dvd as i have a brand new baby at home, but i'll be first in line when it does come out.
thanks for the great review!