Up 96 this week

The Secret Life of Bees (2008)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  17 October 2008 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.3/10 from 18,018 users   Metascore: 57/100
Reviews: 54 user | 108 critic | 32 from

Set in South Carolina in 1964, this is the tale of Lily Owens, a 14 year-old girl who is haunted by the memory of her late mother. To escape her lonely life and troubled relationship with ... See full summary »


(screenplay), (novel)
Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video


TV Spotlight: The Top 10 Episodes of "The Walking Dead"

We've curated a list of the top 10 episodes of "The Walking Dead" according to the IMDb user ratings.

Read More

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 43 titles
created 25 Feb 2012
a list of 29 titles
created 22 Feb 2013
a list of 34 titles
created 08 Mar 2013
list image
a list of 33 titles
created 20 Apr 2013
a list of 31 titles
created 9 months ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: The Secret Life of Bees (2008)

The Secret Life of Bees (2008) on IMDb 7.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Secret Life of Bees.

User Polls

12 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Hounddog (2007)
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A drama set in the American South, where a precocious, troubled girl finds a safe haven in the music and movement of Elvis Presley.

Director: Deborah Kampmeier
Stars: Dakota Fanning, David Morse, Piper Laurie
Uptown Girls (2003)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A grown-up woman, who kept her childish instincts and behavior, starts working as a nanny of a 8-year-old girl, who actually acts like an adult. But in the end everything turns to its right places.

Director: Boaz Yakin
Stars: Brittany Murphy, Dakota Fanning, Heather Locklear
The Runaways (2010)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A coming-of-age biographical film about the 1970s teenage all-girl rock band The Runaways. This film also explores the relationship between band members Joan Jett and Cherie Currie.

Director: Floria Sigismondi
Stars: Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning, Michael Shannon
I Am Sam (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A mentally handicapped man fights for custody of his 7-year-old daughter, and in the process teaches his cold hearted lawyer the value of love and family.

Director: Jessie Nelson
Stars: Sean Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dakota Fanning
Drama | Romance | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In 1981 in L.A., Monica moves in next door to Quincy. They're 11, and both want to play in the NBA, just like Quincy's dad. Their love-hate relationship lasts into high school, with ... See full summary »

Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Stars: Sanaa Lathan, Omar Epps, Glenndon Chatman
Last Holiday (2006)
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Upon learning of a terminal illness, a shy woman (Queen Latifah) decides to sell off all her possessions and live it up at a posh European hotel.

Director: Wayne Wang
Stars: Queen Latifah, LL Cool J, Timothy Hutton
Now Is Good (2012)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A girl dying of leukemia compiles a list of things she'd like to do before passing away. Topping the list is her desire to lose her virginity.

Director: Ol Parker
Stars: Dakota Fanning, Josef Altin, Jeremy Irvine
Push (2009)
Action | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Two young Americans with special abilities must race to find a girl in Hong Kong before a shadowy government organization called Division does.

Director: Paul McGuigan
Stars: Camilla Belle, Dakota Fanning, Chris Evans
Beauty Shop (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

A determined hairstylist (Queen Latifah) competes with her former boss (Kevin Bacon) after opening her own business in Atlanta.

Director: Bille Woodruff
Stars: Queen Latifah, Alicia Silverstone, Djimon Hounsou
Hide and Seek (2005)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

As a widower tries to piece together his life in the wake of his wife's suicide, his daughter finds solace -- at first -- in her imaginary friend.

Director: John Polson
Stars: Robert De Niro, Dakota Fanning, Famke Janssen
Just Wright (2010)
Comedy | Romance | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A physical therapist falls for the basketball player she is helping recover from a career-threatening injury.

Director: Sanaa Hamri
Stars: Queen Latifah, Common, Paula Patton
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Anna Fitzgerald looks to earn medical emancipation from her parents who until now have relied on their youngest child to help their leukemia-stricken daughter Kate remain alive.

Director: Nick Cassavetes
Stars: Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, Alec Baldwin


Cast overview, first billed only:
Renee Ford Clark ...
Doll (as Renée Clark)
Violet (as Sharon Morris)
Sugar Girl
Emma Sage Bowman ...


Set in South Carolina in 1964, this is the tale of Lily Owens, a 14 year-old girl who is haunted by the memory of her late mother. To escape her lonely life and troubled relationship with her father T-Ray, Lily flees with Rosaleen, her caregiver and friend, to a South Carolina town that holds the secret to her mother's past. Taken in by the intelligent and independent Boatwright sisters, Lily finds solace in their mesmerizing world of beekeeping. Written by Fox Searchlight Pictures

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Bring Your Girlfriends, Sisters, Mothers and Daughters



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic material and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

17 October 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Vida Secreta das Abelhas  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$11,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$10,527,799 (USA) (17 October 2008)


$37,766,350 (USA) (20 February 2009)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(director's cut) |

Sound Mix:

| (as Dolby Stereo)|


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Jennifer Hudson said in an interview that director Gina Prince-Bythewood had sent her to a store to get several items and while she was there, the staff and the customers verbally and racially abused her. The incident was, in fact staged by actors under Bythewood's direction in order for Hudson to get the feel of a racially tense environment, the time and setting of the film, and to help her with her characterization. See more »


When Lily and Rosaleen are drinking their Cokes on the grass outside the Boatwright house, you see Rosaleen drink the last of the soda, but you can clearly hear the liquid flowing back into the bottle. See more »


June Boatwright: Aw damn it to hell!
See more »


Featured in The 14th Annual Critics' Choice Awards (2009) See more »


Hippy Hippy Shake
Written by Chan Romero (as Robert L. Romero)
Performed by The Swinging Blue Jeans
Courtesy of EMI Records Ltd.
Under license from EMI Film & Television Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Solid film...
14 September 2008 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

I caught an exclusive screening of this film a week back and I must say, it might be the best film featuring a mostly black cast since "Antwone Fisher." The story centers around Lily (Dakota Fanning), a poor, lonely little girl in the deep south, who deals with a tragic past and a miserable, cruel father (Paul Bettany). Her life revolves around dreams of being every bit like her deceased mother and her relationship with her caregiver Rosaleen (Jennifer Hudson).

In the midst of the civil rights movement, Rosaleen finds herself in some trouble with the locals, inspiring Lily to flee with her to a South Carolina town that she believes holds the secret to her mother's past. In this town, they find refuge with the Boatwright sisters (Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys and Sophie Okonedo), who take them in on the strength of a story concocted by Lily. Through their cultured world, filled with beekeeping, a lucrative honey business, religious beliefs and love, Lily finds the security she has longed for and finds the answers to questions that haunted her for years.

The director (Prince-Brythewood) did a great job at making us care about the characters, even the miserable father played excellently by Paul Bettany. Alicia Keys shows that some R&B singers can actually perform well in a movie, playing the snooty June Boatwright. However, the best performances has to be between Fanning and Okonedo, who played the gentle, simple minded, manic depressive May Boatwright. If Okonedo reminded me less of Thandie Newton's character in "Beloved," I would've predicted an Oscar nomination depending on this year's competition. Maybe there's one in store for Bettany? Its all left to be seen.

The film has its flaws. It dragged for a good portion of the first thirty minutes as we watch Lily and Rosaleen mill about, doing mundane things in their pitiful lives. But then it really picks up when they meet the Boatwright sisters. The characters were balancing on a thin line between empathetic and sympathetic. You never want to be in the latter. And the filmmakers couldn't resist being a bit schmaltzy on occasion, making most of it play like a good after school special with nothing beyond two dimensionality. And my biggest problem with the film... anti-climatic.

Overall, its a solid film and definitely worth the time in seeing.

86 of 114 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Unnecessary Sexual Sugestion with the Purple Honey sartor023
Did anyone else love May Boatwright? reminiscent00
Seriously? No love for T Ray? JBMovies123
what was the stuff that her father made her kneal on? livielu
Dakota's first on screen kiss hal_111091
closest book to movie adaptation i have ever seen KrystalYoung6
Discuss The Secret Life of Bees (2008) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: