7.3/10
19,375
55 user 109 critic

The Secret Life of Bees (2008)

PG-13 | | Drama | 17 October 2008 (USA)
Trailer
2:38 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
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 »

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
Reviews
Popularity
4,501 ( 877)
12 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

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
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
Broken Lines (2008)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Two people find themselves at a crossroads after suffering severe family tragedies.

Director: Sallie Aprahamian
Stars: Paul Bettany, Olivia Williams, Dan Fredenburgh
The Runaways (2010)
Biography | Drama | Music
    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
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
I Am Sam (2001)
Drama
    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
Hide and Seek (2005)
Drama | Horror | 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
August Rush (2007)
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A drama with fairy tale elements, where an orphaned musical prodigy uses his gift as a clue to finding his birth parents.

Director: Kirsten Sheridan
Stars: Freddie Highmore, Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers
The Help (2011)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.

Director: Tate Taylor
Stars: Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer
Precious II (2009)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In New York City's Harlem circa 1987, an overweight, abused, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child is invited to enroll in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction.

Director: Lee Daniels
Stars: Gabourey Sidibe, Mo'Nique, Paula Patton
Whip It (2009)
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In Bodeen, Texas, an indie-rock loving misfit finds a way of dealing with her small-town misery after she discovers a roller derby league in nearby Austin.

Director: Drew Barrymore
Stars: Ellen Page, Drew Barrymore, Kristen Wiig
Edit

Cast

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

Storyline

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

Taglines:

Bring Your Girlfriends, Sisters, Mothers and Daughters

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 October 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Vida Secreta das Abelhas  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$11,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

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

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(director's cut) |

Sound Mix:

| (as Dolby Stereo)|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The Secret Life of Bees is a book by author Sue Monk Kidd. See more »

Goofs

The action in the movie took place in July, 1964. When we first meet Zach, he is singing The Four Tops' "Baby, I Need Your Loving," which was not released until August 15, 1964. A few scenes later, the characters are listening to The Supremes' "Come See About Me," which was not released until November, 1964. See more »

Quotes

Rosaleen Daise: How come you all got names from a calendar?
May Boatwright: Our mama loved spring and summer. We had an April too, but she... she died when she was little.
[runs out of the room, sobbing and humming]
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Sonata No. 3 In A Minor For Cello & Continuo: Allegro
(1740)
Written by Antonio Vivaldi
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A Nutshell Review: The Secret Life of Bees
30 November 2008 | by (Singapore) – See all my reviews

It's been two years since we last saw Dakota Fanning on the big screen here, in a film which was a adaptation of the literary classic Charlotte's Web. And what a career it had been for this child actress, now an adolescent, to have grown from scream queen (no thanks to her stint under Spielberg's War of the Worlds) to one controversial role in Hounddogs, which I doubt would make it to our shores here.

Based on a novel by Sue Monk Kidd and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, The Secret Life of Bees is one powerful drama above love and the looking for love, as well as running along the theme of forgiveness and reconciliation. It's easy to dismiss this as a chick flick because of its predominantly female cast, but that would be a mistake to make in making it an excuse to miss this film altogether. For all its worth, it's chock full of extremely well delivered performances from veterans such as Fanning herself, together with Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson (proving that she's no flash in the pan), Sophie Okonedo, Paul Bettany and even Alicia Keys!

Set in the time of Summer in 1964 Southern USA where the Civil Rights Act was just signed and in effect, the sentiments amongst the racist bigots still run high in a charged environment still hanging onto their old segregated ways. Fanning's Lily Owens carries the weight of her guilt buried deep in her subconscious from a tragic event that happened when she was four, and ten years later, after receiving the last straw of punishment from her abusive dad (Bettany), runs away with her caretaker Rosaleen (Hudson).

As if led by an invisible hand, they soon find themselves under the extreme goodwill of the Boatwright sisters, who earn a living through the cultivation of bees for honey, and a series of incidents that bring about some tying of loose ends, and the discovery that these strangers do tie back to Lily's own quest to finding out the truth about her mom, to debunk the lies as told by her father. And of course this allows opportunity for some serious girl power bonding between the characters as they find that they have a lot more in common, as well as the sharing and spreading of love through their ranks.

The trump card that this movie has, is the excellent performances by the ensemble cast. Fanning leads the pack and gives a wonderful moving performance as the gangling Lily, who thinks that she's quite a jinx with plenty of bad karma to go around, bringing about unfortunate happenings to her hosts which provide the dramatic twists and turns to what would otherwise be a flat movie. Jennifer Hudson had much to do in the first act, though her character got quite muted by the time the trio of the Boatwright sisters August (Latifah), June (Keys) and Okonedo (May) come along. Queen Latifah brings about some serious gravitas in her role as the eldest with the largest heart, and you cannot deny her chemistry with Fanning. Keys on the other hand plays the sister the exact opposite of August, being aloof and starting off with intense suspicion as to the intent of their guests. And Okonedo's role could probably be the most unorthodox of the lot, a fragile soul who has her own wailing wall to deal with the harsh realities of life.

The Secret Life of Bees is well worth the admission ticket, and you'll be hard pressed not to be touched by the film, or moved by the themes it explores, especially when the third act comes by leading to quite a number of powerful revelations and a solid conclusion. Set against its intended backdrop, it's a reminder of tolerance, which the world lacks these days, and of course it's not always hammering in such heavy themes as it has its fair share of romance as well, and for what it's worth, Fanning has her first on-screen romance in this movie, and if I'm right, has her first on-screen kiss as well.

You might be surprised when I say this, but this film has won me over enough for it to be considered as a contender when I shortlist my list of ten top films of the year. Definitely recommended!


25 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Seriously? No love for T Ray? JBMovies123
Did anyone else love May Boatwright? reminiscent00
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
Overly earnest, obvious and lifeless. filmwatcher-2
Discuss The Secret Life of Bees (2008) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?