The Secret Life of Bees is based on a novel written by Sue Monk Kidd. It is a drama set in South Carolina during a time of racial segregation and tension.
Lily Owens (Dakota Fanning) is a budding teenager who is trying to find herself. She accidently killed her mother when she was four years old and lives with her awful father T-Ray (Paul Bettany). She escapes her life as she knows it along with their worker Rosaleen (Jennifer Hudson) in search of who she is and answers about her mother. They find themselves heading for Tiburon, SC which was Lily’s only clue from her mother’s past belongings. There they come across a bright pink house belonging to the Boatwright sisters. They are taken in to stay and work for August Boatwright (Queen Latifah) who runs beekeeping colony and her two sisters June (Alicia Keys) and May (Sophie Okenedo). As Lily spends her days learning to work with the bees she starts to become comfortable in her skin and discover that she can be loved.
While watching this film I was becoming engrossed in the female aspect of it. While it may be considered a “chick flick” I think that the themes are far reaching beyond that. The theme of loving and being loved are present throughout. Lily has never experienced love at the beginning yet she that is all she is seeking. She finds that love truly exists once she is living with the Boatwright’s. As August is teaching her to work with the bees, one of her bits of wisdom she passes along is that “Every little thing just wants to be loved.” It has a tendency to tug at the heart-strings.
The performances are also something to commend. There are five very strong female roles present in the movie and each actress brings her character to life. Dakota Fanning has proved that she can indeed handle the movement from child to teen star. She has a natural ability and even though Lily is supposed to be a broken down soul, she shines. Queen Latifah shows her maturity and wisdom as the head of the sisters. There are also great performances by Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, and Sophie Okenedo.
Overall I enjoyed watching this. It is a wonderful adaptation of the book and a feel good movie. I would recommend this film to anyone who enjoys a story of a personal journey of finding oneself. It is engaging and heart-warming and will not disappoint. The film is as sweet as the honey within.