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The Secret Life of Bees [DVD] 
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In the summer of 1964, a 14-year-old white girl (Dakota Fanning) escapes her abusive father and finds refuge with an eccentric African-American beekeeper and her two sisters who help her solve a mystery related to her late mother.
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Top Customer Reviews
The first line of the film: "I killed my mother when I was 4 years old... that's what I knew about myself." That's the sadness that follows her throughout the film, and gradually she unravels the truth of what led to that tragedy. Her discovering what happened is the spine of the story, albeit a somewhat peripheral one.
Her abusive father is played by British actor Paul Bettany (in what is perhaps the performance of his career to date) and her nanny, Rosaleen, is played by Jennifer Hudson. When Rosaleen stands up to some racists in town and is badly beaten, she and Lily run for their lives.
They find themselves at the door of a candy-pink house where 3 sisters live: August, May and June Boatwright - played by Queen Latifah, Sophie Okonedo and Alicia Keys, respectively. August is a big lady with a big heart who pours all her love into her family and making honey. This is where the bees come in, and where the film really and truly begins.
The entire film is draped in honey: it's golden and easy. There are dragonflies and dappled leaves, budding love affairs and cold lemonade on the porch. All set to a backdrop of the buzz of bumblebees, and the civil rights movement, and the loss of loved ones.
In several places, it's not an easy film to watch.Read more ›
I wouldn't put any labels on this film - it's a good, heart-warming and, sometimes, sad story - which you are bound to enjoy.
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.
It's a visually beautiful film with a good cast, sharp period detail and a touching story. However, the director has made a strange choice to turn an intimate, a bit rough on the edges, and very honest story told by a teenage girl into a smooth and PC epic tale delivered in the third person. Lily's journey from denial to acceptance of what happened to her mother and her own role in it is central in the book, but becomes more of a pretext in the film to raise a number of IIMPORTANT AND SERIOUS SUBJECTS : racial discrimination - check, civil rights - check, feminism - check, spirituality - check, growing up - check. And, given the high stature of the enterprise, the delicious love story between Lily and Zach (a smart and utterly charming black boy she befriends at the sisters' house) that contributed greatly to the magic of the book, did not make it into the Big Themes list. There's a timid beginning of something, which is then swiftly ripped in the bud, before anything "naughty" would have a chance to happen. Worse, this non-story is wrapped up in an entirely implausible scene, in which a noble, precautiously wise and appropriately stiff Zach plants a chaste kiss on even stiffer Lily's lips and tells her, "Remember our story". Which she promises to do, with an irritatingly saintly look and a Mona Lisa smile on her face...
Please. Why on earth would two cute sexually awakened and mutually attracted 14-year-olds, admittedly free of racial prejudice, ever want to voluntarily discontinue their romance? I suppose, the director's answer is: because the political climate of the time was not yet ripe for such affairs. And that, precisely, is my problem with this film.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
amazing film, was doubtful about the movie when my partner purchased it.
decided to watch it, i was totally immersed in the movie, i actually loved it
very emotional well... Read more
Brilliant & moving film. Read the book and then bought the DVD. Usually the film is not as good but this was excellent.Published 2 months ago by sandysoo
Beautiful story, brilliant cast and stays fairly closely to the book which makes a change. I would recommend both book and DVDPublished 2 months ago by mayanguy