The book by Sue Monk Kidd has to be my favourite book of all time. I loved it so much, I bought all my friends a copy and they loved it too. When the film came out, it came out on limited release and no cinema near me showed it so I was desperate for it to be released on DVD.
All I can say is I loved it. The acting was superb, the characters beautifully bought to life, especially August played by Queen Latifah and Lily, by Dakota Fanning, although it isn't really fair to pick out just two actresses - they were all wonderful. My only tiny complaint was Paul Bettany as Lily's father. In the book, his character is much uglier, harsher and less sympathetic than Paul Bettany's portrayal but maybe that was deliberate.
I have heard people say this is a story of the fight for racial equality in the USA but that is only one facet of this story. It is a book about fighting for acceptance, whether as a child who has lost her mother, as a woman or as a black person. It is about belonging and the need to be accepted for who we are, without judgement. It is about forgiveness. It is about humanity and love, looking for and finding both in unexpected places, if we only open our eyes and see past the obvious.
It is a wonderful story tinged with sadness but with much humour, with characters we can all relate to, irrespective or race, colour or creed. I highly recommend the book as a brilliant read and the DVD for the way it brings the characters to life.