56 user 107 critic

The Secret Life of Bees (2008)

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

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

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)
4,510 ( 389)
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
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
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
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

When a lonely guy meets a woman on the internet who happens to be in prison, she breaks out to be with him, and proceeds to wreak havoc on his middle-class life.

Director: Adam Shankman
Stars: Steve Martin, Queen Latifah, Eugene Levy
Last Holiday (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 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
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
Beauty Shop (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 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
The Help (2011)
    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
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
Steel Magnolias (TV Movie 2012)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Six Louisiana women (Queen Latifah, Phylicia Dashed, Adepero Oduye, Condola Dashed, Jill Scott, Alfre Woodard) gather at a beauty salon for their daily dose of female bonding.

Director: Kenny Leon
Stars: Alfre Woodard, Queen Latifah, Phylicia Rashad


Cast overview, first billed only:
Zach Taylor (as Tristan Wilds)
Renee Ford Clark ...
Doll (as Renée Clark)
Violet (as Sharon Morris)
Jasmine Burke ...
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 »


The story takes place in 1964. Throughout the story, June wears a silk-screen NAACP t-shirt. Silk-screened t-shirts did not exist until the issuance of a patent for the garment screen printing machine in 1969. See more »


Zach Taylor: Miss August told me about you being here helping out. She didn't mention anything about you being white.
Lily Owens: Maybe she didn't notice.
See more »


Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Anne Hathaway/The Killers (2008) See more »


Six Canonic Sonatas Op. 5
Written by Georg Philipp Telemann
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Sorry Seinfeld ... the Real Bee Movie
27 October 2008 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. Having not read Sue Monk Kidd's novel, I was expecting a sappy, soulless, chick flick that would have me rolling my eyes for a couple of hours. Instead, director Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball) delivers a very engaging film with a message and some very strong performances.

Dakota Fanning plays Lily, who accidentally killed her mother at four, and has since lived with her white trash, redneck despicable father (Paul Bettany). Lily and her nanny Rosaleen (Jennifer Hudson) runoff to some small town dot on a map thanks to a clue Lily's mom left on one of her few remaining personal items. They arrive at the home/business of August, June and May Boatright (Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys and Sopie Okonedo) who harvest and bottle the best honey in town. What follows is a smörgåsbord of odd family life that slowly gives hope to young Lily.

Based in 1964, the film dips its toe into the Civil Rights Act and the ongoing racism of the south, but focuses more on the strength of love and family ... even in a Pepto Bismol home! The performances are all very strong but three standouts are Dakota Fanning, Paul Bettany and Sophie Okonedo.

Ms. Fanning is now 14 years old and she delivers a remarkable performance ... and what feels like the first where her screaming skills aren't overused (War of the Worlds, Man on Fire). She strikes me as a young Jodie Foster ... one who has just transitioned from child actor to real actress. I can't wait to see where her career takes her. Mr. Bettany is such a shock here as he typically plays a well dressed, under-spoken Brit (which is what he is in real life!). As a southern redneck whose bitterness rages against the world, he not only pulls it off, but manages to make grits seem even worse than I previously thought. Ms. Okonedo (so amazing in Hotel Rwanda) pulls off the always difficult task of making a "special" adult seem very real and vital. A most touching performance from a top notch talent.

This is a good story with strong performances, though to take the next step as a film, it needed to dig a little deeper into its wide range of characters and settings. Still, definitely worth seeing.

51 of 57 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: