The Secret Life of Bees by Gina Prince-Bythewood |Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, Queen Latifah | 24543556329 | DVD | Barnes & Noble
Secret Life of Bees

The Secret Life of Bees

4.3 49
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood

Cast: Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, Queen Latifah


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Gina Prince-Bythewood's adaptation of Sue Monk Kidd's novel The Secret Life of Bees stars Dakota Fanning as Lily, a 14-year-old growing up in a small Southern town in 1964. She is haunted by memories of shooting her mother when she was a young girl. Lily lives with her emotionally distant


Gina Prince-Bythewood's adaptation of Sue Monk Kidd's novel The Secret Life of Bees stars Dakota Fanning as Lily, a 14-year-old growing up in a small Southern town in 1964. She is haunted by memories of shooting her mother when she was a young girl. Lily lives with her emotionally distant father, and her best friend is their African-American housekeeper Rosaleen (Jennifer Hudson). After locals beat Rosaleen for attempting to register as a voter, and Lily's dad goes one step too far during an argument with his daughter, Lily and Rosaleen set out to find the place where the only picture Lily has of her mother was taken. 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 very successful living producing honey. Lily and her friend move in with them, and soon the girl learns about both beekeeping and life.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
A movie designed to give audiences -- specifically women -- the quintessential "good cry," The Secret Life of Bees springs from the same home-cooked, heartwarming, bittersweet, girl-power primordial ooze that produced genre classics like Fried Green Tomatoes and The Color Purple. Dakota Fanning stars as Lily Owens, a 14-year-old living in a small Southern town, who is haunted by the guilt of accidentally shooting her mother when she was a little girl. When her emotionally distant father (Paul Bettany) goes one step too far during a fight, she sets off with their black maid (Jennifer Hudson) -- who recently tried to take advantage of the just-passed Civil Rights Bill, but was beaten by a mob for registering to vote -- for the place where the one picture Lily has of her mom was taken. Once there, under the guidance of wise beekeeper August Boatwright (Queen Latifah) and her sisters -- the high-strung May (Sophie Okonedo) and the analytical June (Alicia Keys) -- Lily learns valuable life lessons about making honey, racial tolerance, and the healing powers of love. This is the kind of movie that shows how the bonds of family and sisterhood can help anyone survive even the most horrible of life's tragedies -- racism, survivor's guilt, and domestic abuse chief among them. The film maintains a relaxed feel, which fortunately keeps the entire endeavor from slipping into melodrama. Queen Latifah holds the screen like the star she is; very few performers can sell dialogue this sappy, but her artful underplaying sets the right tone for the other performers. She meshes well with Dakota Fanning, whose great gift to this point in her career has been a preternatural maturity. Her roles have largely consisted of children who are much wiser than their years, and her seemingly innate self-possession has allowed her to shine in this regard. Her character here is more of a stretch; while Lily is still more intelligent and composed than you might expect a girl her age to be, she still doesn't have all the answers. When she becomes involved in a tentative romance with a black boy, Fanning aptly communicates the joy she feels discovering something new about herself. This performance indicates Fanning may actually be able to weather what most people refer to as "the awkward stage" for kid actors in adolescence. Subject matter this emotional requires the actors and the filmmakers to walk a very fine line; a single ounce of cynicism aimed at either the super-emotional material, or the audience -- who want such a ceaseless barrage of heightened feelings -- will bury tearjerkers like this one. Thankfully, director Gina Prince-Bythewood seems to possess genuine affection for her characters: they are photographed lovingly, and while the film is by no means strong enough to change the mind of anyone whose instincts are to run screaming from such relentless expressions of emotion, it should more than satisfy those who want to laugh through tears. Luckily, everybody involved in The Secret Life of Bees approached their work like craftsmen, and the final result is a bittersweet product closer to honey than treacle.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Fox Searchlight
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Theatrical version; Director's extended cut; 8 deleted scenes; Adaptation: Beinging the Secret Life of Bees to the Big Screen featurette; The Women and Men of the Secret Life of Bees featurette; Inside the Pink House With Sue Monk Kidd featurette; Life on the Set featurette; The World Premiere featurette; Commentary with director/screenwriter Gina Prince-Bythewood, producer Lauren Shuler Donner & Joe Pichirallo, and actor Dakota Faning and Queen Latifah; Commentary with director/screenwriter Gina Prince-Bythewood and film editor Terilyn Shropshire

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
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

Technical Credits
Gina Prince-Bythewood Director,Screenwriter
Ed Cathell Co-producer
Linda Cohen Musical Direction/Supervision
Aisha Coley Casting
William G. Davis Art Director
Mark Fincannon Casting
Lisa Mae Fincannon Casting
Craig Fincannon Casting
Sandra Hernandez Costumes/Costume Designer
Alan Hook Art Director
Mark Isham Score Composer
James Lassiter Producer
Jack Leslie Producer
Ewan Leslie Co-producer
Alex McCarroll Set Decoration/Design
Jay Nierenberg Sound/Sound Designer
Joe Pichirallo Producer
Carl Rudisill Sound/Sound Designer
Terilyn A. Shropshire Editor
Lauren Shuler-Donner Producer
Will Smith Producer
Jada Pinkett Smith Executive Producer
Rogier Stoffers Cinematographer
Warren Alan Young Production Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Secret Life of Bees
1. Tragedy [:27]
2. Civil Rights [3:16]
3. Precious Keepsakes [1:32]
4. Confrontation [:14]
5. Fugitives [1:07]
6. Black Madonna Honey [5:08]
7. Woeful Tale [:09]
8. Refuge [2:28]
9. Calendar Girls [:11]
10. Secret Life of Bees [5:13]
11. Beautiful [2:50]
12. Touch Her Heart [1:52]
13. Startling News [2:05]
14. Flavors of Love [4:24]
15. Just Like Her [3:11]
16. Innocent Matinee [:10]
17. Overwhelmed [4:25]
18. Don't Mess Up [1:13]
19. Lily's Mother [3:39]
20. Imperfect Love [:48]
21. Promises [:39]
22. Aching Hole [5:19]
23. Always There [:03]
24. Hope [1:43]


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